|Leadamorphosis workers picketing their cal center in 2014|
The labor partylist Partido Manggagawa (PM) today asked presidentiables to spell out an agenda for BPO workers in the context of the sudden closure of a call center in Metro Cebu. PM and the group Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW) disclosed that it has come across five call centers with more than a thousand workers in total that illegally shutdown in the last four years, including the latest, Eziconnect Philippines.
“It is not all sunshine in the BPO industry. There is a dark side to the call center sector. The government must use its ‘Force’ to ensure protection for workers in the BPO industry,” insisted Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.
He added that “Is there a presidentiable brave enough to be a jedi to safeguard peace and justice for call center workers?”
PM is advocating strict government regulation of the BPO industry to weed out fly by night companies that are not financially equipped to run the business and does not respect labor rights. The partylist group is also calling 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.
ICCAW meanwhile aims to be a voice and advocate for call center and BPO workers so that the almost a million employees in the industry who are entirely unorganized can enjoy protection.
Earlier, PM called for government to require BPO’s to put up a bond for workers claims in case of sudden or illegal closure. The partylist group is demanding that call centers set up a bond equivalent to two months wages of all employees they intend to hire to defray unpaid salaries, benefits and separation pay.
Gerard Escubido, one of the Eziconnect workers, revealed that the company shutdown last December 21 without due notice, leaving its 30 employees with unpaid wages, 13th month pay and separation benefits. Its owner, Australian rugby player and Fox Sports commentator, Rodney Kafer, has not communicated with its workers about the company’s obligations.
Fortaleza disclosed that some 120 workers of another call center, Leadamorphosis, that illegally shutdown a week after New Year’s day of 2014 in Metro Cebu, won a Php 36 million award from the National Labor Relations Commission but has yet to receive a centavo as its owner is in the USA.
“Eziconnect must not become another Leadamorhosis. Thus we reiterate, who among the presidentiables has a platform to cater to the rights and welfare of BPO employees?,” Fortaleza exclaimed.
December 28, 2015