BPO workers group decries disqualification of Manggagawa Partylist

The BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) decried the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)’s disqualification of Manggagawa Partylist (MPL) saying it “is an insult to the partylist system” and “deprives workers of genuine representation in the country’s parliament.”

Rico Hababag, BIEN Secretary General and National Treasurer of Manggagawa Partylist said, “The disqualification of the MPL is an insult to the partylist system. Whereas many partylist groups are known to misrepresent the marginalized as they are controlled by political families to forward their interests and keep their power, the COMELEC has disqualified Manggagawa Partylist, which undoubtedly is comprised of independent and progressive organizations of workers across the country. By doing so, the COMELEC effectively deprives workers of genuine representation in the country’s parliament.”

From Manggagawa Partylist Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/ManggagawaPL/

MPL was reportedly disqualified for failing to prove that it has no funds coming from foreign or private entities. It has recently filed a TRO to the Supreme Court.

Hababag averred that the reason for disqualification is simply baseless. “Despite meager wages and increasing cost of living, the sectors under MPL comprised of drivers, workers, migrant Filipino workers, call center agents, still managed to come up with financial support in order to raise funds for their partylist. The basis for disqualification is lame and is indicative of an ongoing crackdown on progressive organizations including partylists groups.”

Hababag urged the public to support MPL’s bid for Congress and defend workers right to be represented. “Filipino workers’ misery aggravates day after day as the value of real wages goes down because of rising prices and TRAIN law. There is still rampant contractualization and intensifying violent attacks on unionists. Thus, it becomes imperative for workers to be able to represent themselves and push for progressive reforms that will genuinely address these issues.”#


On the first year of the NCCC mall fire, groups call for criminal liability for workplace deaths

The BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) together with Institute for Occupational Health, Safety and Development (IOHSAD) and the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farms (NAMASUFA) held a candle lighting activity last Wednesday, Dec. 26 in commemoration of the first year of the NCCC mall fire in Davao City that killed a total of 39 workers, 37 of whom are workers of the BPO company, Survey Sampling International (SSI).

The candle lighting was held in Liwasang Bonifacio inside the camp out of Sumifru workers. The groups called for justice and criminal liability for violators of OSH standards especially when it results in deaths of workers.

“We continue to grieve the tragic death of our fellow call center workers, one year after the tragedy in NCCC mall in Davao City. We are one with their families in their fight for justice and accountability. It also reminds us how deadly workplaces can be even in the BPO industry,” Sarah Presteza of the Unified Employees of Alorica and BIEN said in the program. Continue reading “On the first year of the NCCC mall fire, groups call for criminal liability for workplace deaths”

BPO workers group condemns criminal raps vs. BIEN, UEA officers

The BPO Industry Employees Network strongly condemns the filing of criminal charges by Alorica management against its officers and those of the Unified Employees of Alorica (UEA).

On November 14, two officers of UEA received subpoenas for charges of “alarms and scandals” and “malicious mischief” filed by the Alorica management before the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office against 12 individuals including BIEN President Mylene Cabalona, Secretary General Rico Hababag and UEA President Sarah Prestoza. The charges cited a protest action held sometime in September in one of their sites in Makati City.

Aside from this, a union officer who was already illegally dismissed by Alorica received a subpeona on charges of online libel by one of the HR officers of Alorica. Such charges were filed two months after the UEA filed a notice of strike and following failed negotiations between the union and the management.

We vehemently condemn and deny these criminal allegations hurled by Alorica management against our leaders. Such is a desperate move by Alorica to silence the union and independent groups of BPO workers as we exercise our right to freely organize and express legitimate demands. It is maliciously aimed at intimidating the union and coerce it to withdraw its notice of strike based on union busting efforts by the Alorica management. Continue reading “BPO workers group condemns criminal raps vs. BIEN, UEA officers”