Arroyo, son bat for call center workers' rights

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2011 03:40 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2011 11:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her son, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo, are pushing for a bill that will pave the way for the organization of unions among call center workers.

The former President, who is now Pampanga 2nd District congresswoman, and her son filed House Bill 5218, which proposes a Magna Carta for Call Center Workers. The younger Arroyo said the bill aims to better protect the interests and welfare of the workers in the BPO industry.

The bill provides that the State, being a party to an International Labor Organization (ILO) convention concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, shall affirm the right of workers, without distinction whatsoever, to establish and,-- subject to the rules of the organization concerned,-- to join organizations of their own choosing without previous authorization.

It also provides for the other rights of call center employees including the right to a safe and healthy working environment, which will facilitate optimal physical and mental health in relation to their work.

They shall also be entitled to a one-hour meal break in the middle of every eight hour shift, the right to privacy, the right to stay in a comfortable resting area within the employer’s premises until daybreak, to ensure their safety when working in the night shift.

“They shall be entitled to security of tenure, humane working conditions and a living wage.  They shall also participate in policy and decision making processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law,” the younger Arroyo said.

The proposed Magna Carta for Call Center Workers Act of 2011 likewise seeks to address the problems confronting call center workers such as the health hazards inherent to the job.