SHOULD BPO WORKERS CONTINUE TO SUFFER IN SILENCE? By Atty. Ruben D. Torres

    For a monthly basic pay of around Php.25,000 BPO workers continue to suffer ailments and indignities. The August 28, 2013 article of Hannah Mondejar published by Daily Inquirer (http://m.inquirer.net/opinion/?id=59819) on the same date, enumerates some of the problems that continually beset BPO workers.  I salute Ms. Mondejar for her courage in coming out with what she suffers as a result of working for a call center. Despite all the ill effects on her health, she continues to work in a call center for the money.

Is Ms. Mondejar alone in her sufferings? Definitely, NO! Hannah, HINDI KA NAGIISA!. A research study done by the Occupational Health and Safety Center of the Department of Labor, in 2007 the health and safety issues entailed in call center work. Members of the BPO Workers Association of the Philippines (BWAP) confirm Ms. Hannah’s complaints as well.

We list the following health related issues raised by BPO workers:
1. Itchy throats and hoarseness at the end of their eight (8) hours duty;
2. Itchy and teary eyes as a result of long sessions with computers;
3. Stiffness of shoulder and neck muscles and recurring back aches as a result of non-ergonomically designed work stations;
4. Recurring headaches;
5. Insomnia;
6. Increased blood sugar leading to a diabetic health conditions;
7. High blood pressure;
8. Hemmorhoids
9. Heart disease;
10. Deteriorating gall bladder conditions;
11. Heart disease.
12. Stress, etc.

There are social issues involved in call center workers as well.  Call center workers who service North American and European clients usually work in the night or in graveyard shifts. They work in the evening and sleep during the day.  Even during their weekly breaks of one or two days, they  usually just sleep. Consequently, they have very little or no time at all to interact with their spouses or children.

We, at BWAP urge the Department of Labor and Employment particularly the Occupational Health and Safety Center to conduct a thorough study of the health and safety hazards concomitant with working in call centers. After a thorough study and tripartite consultations, the Secretary of Labor should come out with labor standards regarding the health and safety of the BPO workers.

Likewise, we call on all BPO workers to join us in this endeavor. YOU NEED NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE.  LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!


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One Response to SHOULD BPO WORKERS CONTINUE TO SUFFER IN SILENCE? By Atty. Ruben D. Torres

  1. Brigette Ann says:

    i believe that call center agents need more and deserve more when it comes to health. I know we cannot compare the health hazards of a call center agent from a factory worker working with heavy equipments because their work environment is different. However, not all the hazards surrounding a call center agents are too obvious which most of the times are taken for granted. Therefore, more and more problems arise inside the workplace.

    yes, call center have health cards which they or every employee (even outside BPO industry) really deserve in the first place and should be given without an argument. But, how about their clinics and medical staff inside the workplace? Are they competitive enough to give proper care to employees? are they conducting health promotion in preventing or lessen those kind of illnesses? are they friendly enough to deal with this people who have not only physical but also psychological/ psychosocial problems?

    DOLE and occupational health center already have their standards for workers, i know this because i am an occupational health nurse working in a BPO industry. However, they don’t have specific health standards for BPO workers yet. I am really looking forward to this because i can see the huge contribution of call center industry in our economy and yet they’re are ones suffering from discrimination.

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