Impending first strike in BPO industry proves the plight of BPO workers

The BPO Industry Employees Network joined the announcement in a press conference last September 10, the impending strike of 1,500 strong union members of Unified Employees of Alorica (UEA) call center agents in West Contact Services, Inc., an Alorica Company. The group said that upcoming strike is a testament to the plight of BPO workers.

uea strike presscon
Union of workers in Alorica holds press conference Sept 10 announcing the upcoming strike.

“Particularly in Alorica-West, workers have become victims of illegal dismissals, systematic attrition through company policies and other labor standard violations. But this also happens in many other BPO companies. The impending strike in Alorica proves how bad the situation is, but it also proves that BPO workers will not remain mum but will act to change the situation themselves,” Rico Hababag BIEN Secretary General noted.

The group said that the industry’s hostility to workers unions and labor groups has deprived workers of their constitutional right. Forming a union is covertly and overtly prohibited by BPO companies. In most employment contracts and Company Code of Conduct, workers are discouraged to form an organization.

“Amidst this prevailing hostile environment for unions in the BPO industry, the union, UEA was able to persist and prevail despite systematic attacks from the management,” said Hababag.

“The attacks on our union intensified early this year, with direct attack on our job security. Alorica-West implemented an attendance policy, the 8-points system, where absences and lates are counted together in a point system, and those reaching 8-points will automatically be terminated. Since its implementation last February of this year, hundreds of our union members were either illegally terminated or forced to resign,” explained Sarah Prestoza, President of UEA.

In August, UEA has filed for preventive mediation proceedings before the NCMB on the last week of July with the union harassment and union busting schemes being implemented by Alorica and West management through the 8-point attendance system, so-called “employment development program”, the redeployment program, and no due process during administrative case hearing.

After several rounds of mediation proceedings, the parties failed to come up with an agreement as the management is stern in its position to “not recognize” UEA and instead address employees concern “individually” while continue attacking job security through unjust termination (See related story).

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