BPO industry seeks aid amid loss of jobs

April 22, 2020

THE BPO Industry Employees Network expressed concern over loss of jobs and floating of workers in the BPO industry as a consequence of the COVID pandemic worldwide. 

“The pandemic is already impacting on BPO workers jobs. We have received reports of workers being placed on floating status because of account closures. There are also companies who have already issued notices of retrenchment also because of the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and economies that BPO in the Philippines service abroad,”  Mylene Cabalona, BIEN President said.

The adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 in the United States is also critical as the US is among the top markets of BPO industry. For instance, the closure of hotel chains in the US has already resulted in floating of call center workers in the Philippines, according to the group.

Globally, the International Labor Organization is projecting a total of 195 million jobs. Locally, their estimates of job displacement according to the Department of Labor and Employment will reach 1 million. Independent research groups however, peg that as much as 11 million Filipino workers may be displaced due to pandemic and ECQs.

But even in instance where there is no client pull-out, the group pointed out that there are already a lot of BPO workers displaced from their work because of lack of transport services going to office, inadequate near-site accommodation, and limited WFH arrangement supported by BPO companies during the ECQ period.

“Thus apart from workers right to safe workplace, workers’ right to the security of tenure must be upheld at this time. We reiterate our calls to the government and companies to ensure that adequate safety measures and logistical support are provided to workers so they can continue to work,” Cabalona added.

As for the job losses and floating of workers, the group noted that the government should allocate more funds to its cash assistance program for affected workers by the ECQ and expand the coverage to include many BPO workers.

“We support the call for additional CAMP funding and expand its coverage to include workers in big enterprises like BPOs. Contrary to common knowledge, most BPO workers also live paycheck to paycheck and no-work no-pay during ECQ also leaves them with nothing. There are also very few companies who provide financial assistance to workers during the ECQ,” Cabalona said.