January 19, 2010
In probably the first time for the call center industry, a group of employees launched a mass action in protest at violations of their company ranging from delayed salaries to illegal suspension of workers. “The call center business is called a sunshine industry but why are we working in conditions resembling the Dark Ages,” asserted Junnie Montag, an employee at BTS Staff for Less Philippines.
The BTS workers held a press conference today at the office of the Partido ng Manggagawa in Mandaue City. After the press conference, the call center employees proceeded to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office in Cebu City to file a complaint.
Montag said that “We have brought our plight to the attention of the public and the DOLE after a series of complaints and petitions to the management brought no results. Christmas has come and gone but we have yet to receive our December salaries and 13th month pay.”
The call center workers are alleging that aside from delayed wages, BTS has not been remitting deductions for SSS, Philhealth and Pag-ibig, and has not forwarded their tax refunds for two years running.
Last week the aggrieved employees found out that BTS is not registered with the DOLE and neither is the apprenticeship program enlisted with both the DOLE and TESDA as required by law. “BTS is guilty of theft of our wages and benefits,” insisted Montag.
Finally the workers are complaining of the company practice of suspending for 10 days, without due process, employees who have not met the target quota of calls. “We explain to management the reason for not reaching the quota but our arguments fall on deaf ears. The problem lies not in the performance of the employees but in system trouble and the lackluster market,” argued Montag.
BTS is a three-year old company located at Datag, Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City and handles accounts for insurance policies from abroad and also local companies like Smart. There are around 200 employees but only 60 are regular and the rest are apprentices.