Thursday, May 30, 2013

Group calls on DOLE to promote decent work not just healthy living in BPOs

Press Release
May 30, 2013
Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW)

A newly formed group of call center workers called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to promote decent work in BPO’s in the face of reports of violations of labor standards in the industry.

“We welcome the Labor and Health Departments’ campaign for healthy living among BPO workers. But we also call on the DOLE to uphold decent work among call center companies as e-sweatshops are proliferating in the industry. Sweatshop conditions not just stressful work are a problem of BPO employees,” said Sylvio Dorig, spokesperson of Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW).

ICCAW is a DOLE-registered workers association for mutual aid and protection. Dorig issued the call as a group of call center workers complained of underpayment of wages and non-payment of benefits against their former employer. Six ex-employees of the Ortigas-based E-Global International Communications Inc. owned by Mr. Eugene Go filed cases at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) last May 20 for violations of labor standards including illegal dismissal.

ICCAW is also supporting the fight of employees of Cordia Philippines, a call center based in Cebu City’s Asiatown I.T. Park. Earlier this year some 76 Cordia workers filed cases of illegal closure, non-payment of salaries and non-remittance of their mandated benefits at the Region 7 branch of the NLRC.

“We were paid only P200 a day for the five months that we worked at E-Global. Further we received no overtime pay, holiday pay, rest day premium, service incentive leave, 13th month pay and cost of living allowance,” averred Jiaffy Domingo, one of the E-Global call center agents. Aside from Domingo, the complainants are Janice Bicera, Rissa Joy R. Ricafrente, Maricel Gatoc, Bryan Dango and Walter Dango.

Yesterday several E-Global workers trooped to the Social Security System with the assistance of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and verified that the company was not remitting deductions. A notice will be sent to E-Global to comply within a month’s time after which a case can then be filed against the company.

PM national chair Renato Magtubo averred that “A sunshine industry and dollar earning sector like the BPO should have no room for sweatshops. The DOLE must strictly regulate this fast growing industry in the interest of more than 600,000 workers since E-Global and Cordia are not the only BPO sweatshops around.”

In July last year, some 600 employees were laid off overnight when the Cebu City-based Direct Access abruptly shutdown. After a few months of protests, the Direct Access workers got their money claims and separation pay. As a result of that labor dispute, ICCAW was formed to be “a voice for BPO workers regarding specific grievances and general concerns.”


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