March 23, 2015
Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW)
With women’s month about to end, the Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW) called on the BPO industry to provide “women-friendly benefits in furtherance of work-life balance.” Rhejay Eusebio, ICCAW-NCR spokesperson, asserted that “BPO jobs are characterized by monotonous tasks, intense work and strict metrics. The competitive culture promoted in the BPO industry has led to work-life imbalance. This imbalance disproportionately impacts women employees who are breadwinners and with children.”
Specifically the group is asking BPO companies to provide child care facilities where employees can leave their children while at work. Also ICCAW is demanding that the industry take the lead in providing 120 days of pregnancy leave for women workers.
“My personal experience as a BPO worker for several years shows how family life is frequently sacrificed at the altar of work productivity,” Eusebio elaborated. She has a pending case at the National Labor Relations Commission for illegal dismissal. Eusebio is alleging she was fired without valid cause and due process after taking an emergency leave to take care of her sick daughter.
She insisted that “For sure, BPO companies will argue that these are costly benefits to provide. Yet BPO’s can very well afford these measures since it is a dollar-earning industry. BPO’s do not deserve to be called a sunshine industry if it cannot provide for above-average working conditions and labor standards.”
The BPO industry earns around USD 20 billion or almost PhP 1 trillion in revenues. Also it is estimated that there are more than a million BPO workers in the country. A survey in 2010 by the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics found that some 54% of BPO workers are women. “I believe that many of these women BPO workers are either breadwinners for their families or with children to take care of. Thus women-friendly benefits are an imperative for the BPO industry,” Eusebio emphasized.
ICCAW was founded in
late 2012 as a result of the fight of workers of Direct Access, a call center
that unceremoniously shutdown leaving its 600 employees without jobs and with
unpaid wages and benefits. It has since then expanded its membership nationwide
even as it sits as the labor representative in the
tripartite body on the ICT industry. Cebu City
ICCAW seeks to be an industry-wide organization for employees in the call center and business process outsourcing sector (BPO), and be a voice for industry workers’ concerns, grievances, demands and interests. Among ICCAW’s platform is the call for industry-wide standards for wages, benefits and entitlements that must be well above the minimum mandated by law and commensurate to the profitable dollar-earning nature of the call center industry.