A group of call center employees criticized business process outsourcing (BPO) companies for refusing to allow their employees to evacuate during Monday’s strong earthquake that shook parts of Luzon, including the National Capital Region.
The BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN) called the attention of BPO companies to ensure that workers’ lives and safety are their top priority during emergencies.
“We are shocked and appalled upon receiving reports from BPO workers themselves that their companies did not evacuate them during the earthquake,” BIEN said.
“Keeping business as usual in the midst of this life-threatening situation is not only illegal; it is utterly inhumane,” the group added.
A 6.1 magnitude earthquake jolted Central Luzon and Metro Manila around 5PM of April 22.
At least 16 have been confirmed dead in Zambales and Pampanga provinces, including workers of a grocery that collapsed in Porac town.
A 6.5 magnitude earthquake also jolted Eastern Visayas Tuesday, April 23, at 1:37 PM that was also felt in Central Visayas, the Bicol Region and parts of North-East Mindanao.
BIEN reminded industry players to adhere to occupational guidelines in times of natural disasters to keep workers safe.
The group also called on the government to enforce the new occupational safety and health standards law, Republic Act 1105, and penalize companies who have violated the safety standards putting workers’ lives at great risk.
The group did not name the BPO companies in its statement.
“Given the risk of an aftershock and effect of quake on infrastructure, we urge the government and companies to consider suspending operations until buildings and offices are declared safe,” BIEN ended. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)