BPO companies slammed for unjust policies

  • 18

BAGUIO CITY – A group of call center agents in the city criticized the different business process outsourcing (BPO) companies for their continuous and wanton implementation of alleged unjust policies that continue to affect them.

The BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) Baguio Chapter claimed that among the alleged unjust policies being current implemented by Sitel Philippines that was renamed Acticall Sitel group, Convergys that eventually merged with Concentrix, Teleperformance, and Intercontinental Hotels Group include the 8-point attendance systems, metric system, plotted pre-shift and post-shift overtimes, skyrocketing scorecard goals and stagnant salaries.

The group described the 8-point attendance system is a systematic attrition in attendance points which is the newest scheme to exploit the frontliner call center agents.

Under the said system, the group claimed that the employees are forced not to commit tardiness and absences even if it is due to sickness wherein .25 will be accumulated for every 1-5 minutes tardiness or leaving early, .5 for being late 5 minutes to 4 hours and 1 point for more than 4 hours late or missing the entire shift and any employee who had accumulated 8 points will be subjected to possible termination.

On the other hand, the group disclosed that .25 will be deducted if an employee will be able to render 15 days or 120 hours without late.

In the city, BIEN revealed that Concentric is reportedly implementing the repressive policy wherein concerned workers claimed that they need to maintain the 8 points set by the company to prevent them from being suspended or terminated.

The group said that the plotted pre-shift and post-shift overtimes are anticipated overtimes in which employees are allegedly forced to render extra hours prior or after the 8 working hours required by the country’s labor laws and that any employee who fail to render the said plotted overtime will receive a notice to explain and will be subjected to possible suspension or termination.

According to the group, Sears Holding Corporation is one of the biggest companies in the United States that has been outsourcing services from Sitel Philippines for almost a decade now but the company filed bankruptcy protection in the last quarter of 2018 that resulted to the streamlining of Sitel Philippines employees working as customer service representatives for Sears online shopping, home delivery, installation and other services.

The group revealed that based on record, Sitel Baguio had approximately 379 rank and file employees working for Sears in January this year and according to the affected employees, 70-75 percent of the whole work force was already removed from the account but it is not clear until now if the said call center agents were transferred to another account, terminated or resigned.

BIEN requested an official copy of the ‘transferred’ employees from the human resource department but the same was allegedly denied considering that the employees were already transferred to other accounts and are already undertaking trainings.

The group pointed out that it will not be satisfied to any verbal statement unless the company will provide a copy of the official list of the employees who were successfully transferred and retained.

The group exposed that call center agents are forced to accept their fate to work in the evening and receive P10,000 to P12,000 as basic salary and additional P2,500 allowance that is not even enough to buy their basic needs and that the same is a far cry from the recent pronouncement of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) which stated that a family of 5 needs at least P42,000 a month to survive.

Based on the results of the group’s study in 2017, BPO companies in the country are getting $0.64 per minute from the client as payment for one customer service representative which means that a BPO is receiving at least P33 per minute or P2,28 per hour, or P16,624 per day for 8 hours of serve or P373,152 per month for 23 days of service.

The group stated that it only means that the P14,500 basic pay and allowance monthly net income is only 3.9 percent of the total P373,152 monthly income of the call center company.

BIEN vowed to continue the struggle until unjust labor practices will be stopped by the alleged abusive call center companies but local officials could also become part of the noble struggle to protect the rights and welfare of the call center agents and other information technology workers, thus, it is high time for the local candidates to support the IT-BPO employees in the city including enactment of a local legislative measure for their welfare in their platform and make it an official ordinance after the elections.