Petition to Mr. Craig Reines, Laurent Ubiri, Mr. Michael Dela Peña, SEC. SILVESTRE BELLO III, B.GEN. CHARITO B. PLAZA, Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman
Recognize Workers’ Security of Tenure in SiTEL Philippines Baguio!
At least 1,000 workers in SiTEL Philippines in Baguio City are facing displacement from their jobs this June and July 2017 as four clients of SiTEL’s reportedly pull-out. Affected employees are mostly regular agents who have served the company for at least a year and thus should enjoy tenured status. However, the fate of these potentially displaced workers is not clear even as SiTEL continuously hire new employees. It is feared that most workers affected by the client pull-out will be either 1) assigned in floating status with no pay, 2) re-hired in other accounts but has to undergo the same application procedure, or worse 3) forced to resign due to lack of security. Ironically, SiTEL Philippines in Baguio City on April this year announced its expansion and growth in the city with the opening of its fourth site in the area. It also announced having opened at least 800 job vacancies in Baguio. SiTEL is also a signatory of the UN Global Human Rights Compact which includes respect to labor rights. Moreover, SiTEL makes their agents handle several lines of businesses without any additional compensation. This means that one BPO worker takes the jobs of two or more workers so the company can further cut down its costs. SiTEL workers have formed SPARK or SiTEL Philippines Association of Rank and File Workers to fight for the jobs which they might lose any moment. SPARK demands the recognition of the workers right to security of tenure. In the face of looming displacement, SPARK demands: 1) Jobs not retrenchment! It is not fair that SiTEL will be displacing over 1,000 agents when it continuously hire new agents for other accounts. Also it is unjust that SiTEL exploits its agents so much by giving multiple jobs to every agent with no additional pay at least. If these jobs will be distributed to the agents such that one agent will only be handling one line of business, then SiTEL has more than enough jobs to offer the agents who are bound to be displaced. 2) No to floating status! To avoid outright dismissals, BPO companies for the meantime assign affected employees to floating status which in effect is a form of constructive dismissal because as the agent does not have work to do, apart from having no pay, s/he becomes subject to dismissal after three to six months. Oftentimes, workers who are “floated” are forced to resign and find other jobs. 3) Immediate lateral transfer to other accounts! In some cases, affected workers made to apply to other accounts but displaced workers have to undergo almost the same hiring process in other accounts like new applicants. This is utterly unfair as they were already previously hired by the BPO company. Instead, lateral transfer in these cases should only involve up-scaling of skills or a short period of training so that they can cope and learn their new tasks in the new account they will be assigned to. 4) Respect workers’ right to freedom of association! SiTEL workers in Baguio have united and formed their own organization, the SiTEL Philippines Association of Rank and File Workers (SPARK). It aims to defend the right to security of tenure and advance and promote the interests of workers in SiTEL Baguio. SiTEL management should not harass or intimidate any member of SPARK and should respect the right of workers to form their own organization. The fight of SITEL employees for security of tenure is just and reasonable. Let us unite with them for secure jobs in the BPO industry. Sign the petition! Dear Mr Craig Reines, Chief Operating Officer of SiTEL PH, I, am writing in support of the SPARK and the workers of SiTEL in Baguio City in the Philippines in their fight for jobs and security of tenure in SiTEL and in the BPO industry in general. I have learned that due to the pull-out of SiTEL’s clients, some 1,000 workers may be displaced, meaning either 1) assigned in floating status with no pay, 2) re-hired in other accounts but has to undergo the same application procedure, or worse 3) forced to resign due to lack of security. This to me is not fair as especially for tenured agents. It seems to me that SiTEL Baguio has the capacity to maintain these workers in other accounts given that the company has only recently prided of its expansion. SiTEL can also choose to be more humane to its employees by assigning each agent with only one task (line of business) and not multiple tasks as it currently practices. If it does this, then SiTEL can have more than enough posts for those 1,000 workers who might be displaced. These realities faced by BPO workers in the SiTEL Baguio Philippines is very lamentable and runs contrary to SiTEL's pledge to uphold workers rights and human rights as a signatory to the UN Global Human Rights Compact. SiTEL should also respect the right to freedom of association of SiTEL Baguio workers as they have united and form their own organization, SPARK, to defend and promote their rights inside the workplace. In this light, I strongly summon SiTEL to heed by its promise and uphold workers and human rights. I support SiTEL Baguio workers’ demand for: 1)Jobs not retrenchment! 2) No to floating status! 3) Immediate lateral transfer to other accounts! 4) Respect the right to freedom of association!