Wednesday, December 27, 2017

BPO workers group calls for stronger labor enforcement after NCCC fire

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A BPO workers association today called for stronger labor enforcement and inspection in response to the deadly fire at the NCCC Mall in Davao City that claimed the 37 employees of the call center SSI. The group also expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

Accidents are not acts of divine providence that can be dismissed as unavoidable. Instead, accidents are the result of unsafe acts and therefore preventable by strict enforcement of occupational safety and health and labor standards,” Rossie Hong, chairperson of I-Shield (Secured and Healthy Initiative Enabling Labor Defense). I-Shield was formerly named the Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW).

Hong added that “Heads must roll and justice must be served for the needless deaths and injuries to our fellow BPO workers. While employers were scrimping on protection for workers and DOLE was sleeping on its job of enforcement, workers are dying in the workplace.”

I-Shield lambasted employers for cutting corners in occupational safety in order to raise profits and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for lax implementation of labor and safety standards. The deaths of SSI workers comes on top of the loss of lives in the industrial fires at Kentex in Valenzuela and HTI in Cavite ecozone.

I-Shield called on the DOLE activate the trade unionists who were recently trained to be labor inspectors. The deputization of unionists as inspectors was a demand of labor groups in the wake of the Kentex and HTI tragedies as a means to augment the number of inspectors and involve labor groups in enforcement. However months after being trained and deputized, none of the unionists have been given mission orders by the DOLE for actual inspections.

“Is the DOLE waiting for another industrial tragedy before it mobilizes trained unionists for labor inspections?,” Hong insisted.

I-Shield also appealed to the DOLE to immediately hold new batches of trainings for more unionists from different labor groups who are waiting in line to be deputized as inspectors.

ICCAW was formed in 2012 but changed its name to I-Shield this year. I-Shield is the accredited labor representative in the Region VII ICT industry tripartite council. Its website is

December 27, 2017

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