A BPO workers group welcomed the order from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) providing for 5-minute breaks for desk employees. The workers organization BPO Secure and Healthy Ideas Enabling Labor Defense or BPO Shield however asked that instead of 5-minute breaks for every two hours as specified in the order, a 5-minute break for every hour would be more appropriate.
BPO Shield also called on the DOLE to consult workers on the drafting of the implementing rules of the order and for coordination on inspections of establishments. Last week the DOLE announced DO 184 that applies to desk-bound workers such as call center workers and also encourages exercises at the offices in the interest of occupational health and safety.
BPO Shield was formerly named the Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW). ICCAW was formed in 2012 but changed its name to BPO Shield this year. BPO Shield is the accredited labor representative in the Region VII ICT industry tripartite council. Its website is https://bposhield.com.
Rossie Hong, a leader of BPO Shield, said that “DO 184 is a welcome response to clamor from BPO workers about health risks and for safe working conditions in offices. In call centers especially, agents sit for hours taking calls. However, BPO Shield would like to suggest that 5 minutes per hour would be more appropriate for call centers, since sitting for prolonged period could cause back pains and may lead to severe back problems, aside from hypertension, heart diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and other health problems.”
Hong also reminded the DOLE of their group’s longstanding call for assutrance bonds to be a requirement for the establishment and operation of BPO firms. She added that “BPO’s must put up a bond equivalent to two months worth of salaries of all their workers to defray money claims in cases of sudden closure or declaration of bankruptcy.”
She recalled that “In Cebu City, the BPO bond has been pushed by BPO Shield to the City Council for its approval and implementation. In 2012, Direct Access suddenly shut down leaving around 600 workers with no job and no pay. Several BPO companies did the same thing, like Cordia, Green Wire, Leadamorphosis, Blue Connect and Eziconnect, leaving more than a thousand workers, in the air, unpaid and unemployed. Although the workers have been vindicated in the NLRC decisions, sadly, the owners have already left the country or have opened another BPO but registered under a new name.”
October 24, 2017