"But please be advised we do not take orders from the Government, we are business as usual..."
These are the words said from an unknown company all in response to its workers asking regarding going to work all in midst of continuous rain and flood especially in Metro Manila.
However, these are the words that tries to create exemptions as the present administration issues an order "suspending work on government and private institutions."
It is quite strange to read those words especially for a worker thinking about getting absent in midst of a bad weather such as today's, that most of them asking how come business be as usual despite issues from the government that includes private institutions like Call Centers and the like, does it mean the BPO industry (call centres) wanting to put its people to the test? Let's see. According to one of the commentators on Facebook, he simply stated about floods in Bacoor Cavite yet getting concerned over going to work in Manila despite less transport be it bus or jeep; another even complained about heavy rains and living in a flood prone area as well as getting stranded after long hours of work, then "business as usual?"
Putting them to work despite the rain, and an exemption to policies concerning
A desperate ordeal as expected by companies all thinking about profit and reducing welfare of its workers into a mere facade to impress outsiders and join the workforce that includes benefits, good pay yet graveyard shifts and perhaps threats of memos and suspension; this writer's friend, also an agent got suspended without due process after a minor issue, but still he remained suspended.
To the extent that administrators from BPO companies, such as Convergys' Jose Mari Mercado (according to News5) denied reports that they are forcing employees to report to work today, stressing that their policy that if employees are not able to come to work, “then they don’t need to.”
“It’s not that we are forcing them to work. Remember that we have a 24/7 operation, and our sites are designed to withstand floods,” Mercado explained.
“If they think they can go to work, then we’ll let them. In some cases, it’s actually safer to be in the center, and they can even earn extra money,” he added.
While Gillian Virata of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) stated that the group tries to exempt BPO companies from the proclamation order that includes private companies be suspended due to heavy rains. As according to Virata (through GMA news):
" the association requested an exemption from the Palace directive because of the 24/7 nature of BPO companies that service clients overseas.
The association has 600 member-companies that employ 480,000 people or about three-fourths of the total industry workers in the country, Virata said. After the BPAP explained the “need for a 24-hour operation, they said they would grant an exemption…” Virata said, “thus, leaving discretion to management.” "
Such actions taken by companies tries to justify prioritizing foreign clients over the welfare of its employees despite statements said by Mercado. But, in being critical regarding their statements, not noticing that most agents are living in Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela), Pasig, as well as provinces that most of it are flood prone; that one commentator even stated that they are paid in Pesos not in Dollars despite the nature that their clients are mostly came from the west such as the United States as well as they are covered with the basic law of the state and the labor code as well.
But come to think that in their promises, statements, even the tarps in the billboard, isn't it hypocritical for these people (that most be described as greedy) to show big cash yet not concerning over their employee's plight especially those living in areas marred by continuous rain and flood? This writer even got nearly stranded all after Taxis gone choosy until one end willing To in exchange for additional one hundred peso just to hop in and go home. Such actions taken by BPO companies are fast becoming sweatshops by using the petitbourgeoie (professionals) with promises of good cash and benefits only to be described as graveyards for the living dead according to those who are working.
Worse, be obliged to work in midst of tremeandous rain and catastrophes deemed as "acts of god" by some. Quite strange to think of.
Malacañang's response over the issue and its aloofness by stubborn institutions
According to Malacanang's Abigail Valte, it stated that even though clients of major BPO firms operating here are abroad, their employees are working here and are therefore part of the suspension issued by Malacañang on private offices. She even stated through her twitter that: “If your employer insists that you go to work, they must be able: (1) to guarantee your safety and (2) pay extra for your attendance."
However, despite the official order given, other companies involved in the BPO industry remained stubborn as it exploits people despite bad weather and related conditions unfavorable to work; just like what the statement said "business as usual", workers rather felt that the situation had gone too far with these companies would threaten them with memos, suspension orders, and even dismissal for not working due to unfavorable conditions.
That obviously, despite all the justifications and statements given, it speaks none other than exploitation with promises of high income yet sacrificing life for thousands of Pesos, yet in fact it becomes more Pol Pot-esque by keeping people as no gain and losing them as no loss.
That perhaps most would think and ask themselves will they go to work after a heightened alert? Then it is up to themselves whether to pursue or not.