Workers in the Philippines wants intervention on return-to-work order
Business process outsourcing (BPO) workers in the Philippines are asking the government to intervene on a return-to-work order.
The Inter-Call Centre Association of Workers (ICCAW) sought Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III to intervene to suspend the order, which mandates workers to return to onsite work on April 1.
“The RTO (return-to-work order) is a recipe for disaster. It is an April Fools’ prank that endangers occupational safety and health, and work-life balance,” said BPO employee Bryan Nadua, also a member of ICCAW, in a statement, according to Rappler.
“Mandating the return to office of 1.4 million IT and BPO workers on the sole basis of economic and tax reasons disregards the issue of health and safety of employees,” he noted.
As an alternative, BPO workers have proposed a 50% to 75% office capacity and the implementation of a reduced workweek while proceeding with a work-from-home arrangement for the rest of the week.
In response to the call, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has said that its authority on the matter is limited.
READ: Some employees in the Philippines unwilling to return to workplaces
“At present, PEZA cannot change the ratio unless the laws [are] amended to incorporate the adaptation of the hybrid schemes. In the future, we hope to follow the practice of India and the other countries and provide a specific ratio on WFH and on-site work arrangements,” said PEZA Director General Charito Plaza.