A group of call center workers said Thursday a "significant number" of their colleagues are considering resigning from work if they are called back to the office on April 1 as scheduled by the government.
The Alliance of Call Center Workers reiterated its appeal on behalf of 1.3 million BPO workers to continue working from home as some members have set up their work stations outside Metro Manila and other call center hubs. The group was formed after an inter-agency government body declared that the last day for remote work will be March 31.
"Based on our discussions with our members, there is a significant number of workers na willing na mag-resign," said Emman David, a co-convernor of the alliance.
"'Yung mass resignation, hindi naman talaga siya as a sign of protest but more of a sign of inconvenience na we'd rather take our chance of working elsewhere than to return to our physical offices," he said.
While employees won't be automatically terminated for refusing on-site work, Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez earlier said it could lead to sanctions because of "insubordination."
The fact that BPO clients are abroad and that agents in the Philippines functioned remotely during the pandemic is enough grounds to extend the work from home setup, said Lara Melencio, also a co-convenor of the group.
"We can work anywhere as long as we have our devices, our internet conneciton, and electricity. 'Yun lang tatlo 'yung kailangan namin and we can do our job and it has been working for the last two years so bakit pa kami papabalikin kung kaya naman sa bahay o kaya naman kahit saan?" said Melencio.
The government had argued that resuming on-site work for BPOs will also revive businesses that benefit from the industry such as malls, coffee shops and restaurants.
BPOs shouldn't shoulder the burden of stimulating the economy by helping businesses recover as it is the government's job to do so, said labor leader and senatorial candidate Luke Espiritu, who was also at the forum.
"Kapag nagkasundo sila doon sa terms ng employment nila, bakit naman panghihimasukan ng isang ahensya ng gobyerno na wala namang kinalaman sa employer-employee relationship?" said labor leader Luke Espiritu. "If it ain't broke, why fix it?"