Papasok O Hindi? A Call Center Agent’s Ordeal During Super-Typhoons in PH

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Everyone will be safe and sound inside their houses when typhoon Ruby strikes Batangas this weekend, yet BPO i.e. call center agents in Lipa and Batangas City will be reporting for work amidst the bad weather threat.

That’s the dilemma of our dear friends in the call center industry not only here in Batangas but nationwide. They are obliged to report for work every single day of the scheduled assignment for the week. May it be Christmas, New Year or Lent, you will have to report for work when required by your assigned sked. At kahit may bagyong signal number 3, you will still have to go to work…

We really can’t blame BPOs for having this sick policy. They have international clients to cater to ¬†everyday no matter what and they don’t care if you have to go through hell and back just to report for work. Their rationalization for this is that they compensate their employees with hefty paychecks (well yes, compared to other regular jobs) so they have the right to demand back something wicked like this.

bpo complaints
A Facebook status of a BPO employee

Anyhow, to be fair, since we really cannot bend or break this strong BPO policy, BPO companies can at least be CONSISTENT¬†on taking care of their employees’ welfare during calamity times like this. They can either:

  • provide shuttles from certain pick-up points going to their centers. This way, BPO workers won’t have to endure their awful commute to work in the midst of a nasty storm. Sobrang nakaka-depress kaya bumyahe papuntang work habang nabagyo. Basam-basa ka na, ginaw na ginaw ka pa bago pa maka-duty sa graveyard shift mo.
  • provide extra hazard pay for the day’s salary. It’s no joke to go through one hell of a storm just to attend to your work duties. Road hazards abound, and also the fat chance to become sick. There should really be an extra premium pay for this.
  • provide food and shelter for the stranded employees. After their shift, they just can’t go home while the storm is in the midst of its rampage. Food and beverages should be served for stranded employees. Sleeping quarters should be provided as well, where they can stay until the storm subsides.

We don’t know if this blog post will stir a change or something on this minute issue, but at least I wrote this. This blogger used to be a call center agent and I know what it feels to be voiceless. This so-called “sunshine industry” is contributing a lot to the country’s economy yet, the frontliners i.e. the “perceived well-compensated” call center agents are paying an unseen price behind the big beautiful picture. There’s a lot to be changed and improved on this flourishing industry. And this should definitely be addressed promptly or else this will become another fallen industry one day.

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