Many takers wait for displaced BPO agentsBy Aileen Garcia-Yap, Carine M. Asutilla, Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
A batch of 638 call center agents were suddenly left jobless in Cebu City when operations were suspended by their employer Direct Access Center in Asiatown IT Park.
But the agents will soon find new jobs as another company, Qualfon, expressed interest in absorbing them.
“The BPO remains a strong industry. One manifestation of this is that even if the employees lost their jobs, another company is waiting to hire them,” said Lelia Estillore OIC of the Department of Labor and Employment.
She said call center company Qualfon needed 600 workers and would hold a special job fair this weekend.
Several call center agents of Direct Access Center went to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board yesterday to file a complaint, saying they were told work would be suspended for three to six months.
They wanted to collect separation pay, their commissions, overtime pay, leave pay, and rest day pay. They also found out that their SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-ibig contributions were not remitted.
The agents were accompanied by Dennis Derige of the Partido ng Manggagawa, who said the management did an “illegal lockout”, and didn’t inform workers or settle their obligations like their salaries and separation pay.
In City Hall, Mayor Michael Rama asked his staff to organize a special job fair for the displaced workers.
“If they are bright and they qualify for City Hall work, they can even be absorbed for employment,” he said.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Prudencio Gesta said the closure of Direct Access Center was an isolated case and doesn’t reflect the BPO industry.
Cebu Investment and Promotions Center (CIPC) managing director Joel Mari Yu, said: “Closures happen to all types of businesses including banks.
“This is nothing to worry about.”
Gregg Gabison, president of the Cebu Education Development Foundation there no is no cause for alarm because “the BPO global market space is really growing.”