Workers from the “sunshine industry” Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) should be protected because of the millions of jobs and dollars they pour into the Philippine economy.
Uniteam senatorial candidate Harry Roque, a former member of the House of Representatives, said this today as he stressed the key role of the BPO sector during the pandemic.
Roque authored House Bill No. 662 or the “Magna Carta for Call Center Workers Act” during the 17th Congress. He vowed to reintroduce the same bill if elected in the Senate.
HB 662 seeks to guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike following law.
The bill provides that workers shall be entitled to security of tenure, humane work conditions, and a living wage. The workers shall also participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law.
The bill further states that call center workers should have the right to a safe and healthy working environment, at least one-hour continuous meal break every eight-hour shift, privacy on personal phone calls, stay in a comfortable area for employees working in night shift, and be informed of the terms and conditions of their contract.
BPO transfers an organization’s non-core processes to a third-party who uses an information technology-based service delivery and manages the selected process based on defined.
The Philippines is among the Top 5 countries for outsourcing in 2021.
According to the IT & Business Process Associationof the Philippines, Inc.( Ibpap), the BPO sector generated $27.6 billion in revenue in 2020, a 14-percent increase from the previous year.
Aside from generating 1.3 million direct jobs, the industry also contributed 4.08 million indirect jobs in various support industries such as food, banking, real estate, hospitality, and transportation. It also promoted countryside development, creating 280,000 jobs in 23 provinces.
Roque said the Constitution states that the State shall protect labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized, and provide full and equal employment opportunities for all.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said last year that the BPO sector kept the employment rate in the Philippines stable amid the pandemic.
Bello said the BPO companies hired 23,000 new full-time employees under the 2020 applicable flexible working hours to sustain business operations amid a health crisis.