Workers’ benefits, health and safety are priorities
DOLE and IBPAP to sign accord, implement a two-year action plan for IT-BPM sector

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and Jose Mari Mercado, President of the Information Technology-Business Processing Association of the Philippines will sign on Friday a landmark partnership agreement and joint action plan that will translate into concrete terms the directives of President Benigno S. Aquino III to the DOLE to assist employed workers keep their jobs; assist the unemployed workers find jobs; and protect workers’ rights and benefits.

In an announcement, Secretary Baldoz said the DOLE will build a partnership with IT-BPAP to ensure its involvement, as a DOLE social partner, in realizing decent and productive work through business expansion and growth.

“This is a a proactive step to ensure the rights and benefits,  including the safety and health, of workers in the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM),” said Baldoz.

“The IBPAP, recognizing the role of government in supporting the IT-BPM road map, is entering into a partnership with the DOLE to safeguard the welfare and well-being of the talent pool to promote best people and safety and health practices, thus helping the private sector build a work environment that lives up to the industry and global standards, and attracts to and retains the best talents in the IT-BPM sector,” said Mercado.

The IBPAP, as the recognized worldwide leading private organization of companies in global information technology and business process management located in the Philippines, generated over 700,000 direct employment and 1.6 million indirect employment in 2012. The sector earned more than US$13 billion in export revenues, or 5.5 percent of gross domestic product, enabling the country to surpass India in voice global IT-BPM, thus making the Philippine call center industry the largest in the world.

Mercado said the IBPAP’s roadmap has identified growth opportunities for developing high-value export IT-BPM analytics, research, and development in areas such as medical research and health care; engineering and high technology; creatives; and financial and banking services, which are being delivered by its members to diverse markets in Europe, Australia, and Asia Pacific.

The DOLE-IBPAP partnership agreement is an offshoot of the DOLE’s and IBPAP’s effort to solidify a holistic and extensive approach to elicit voluntary compliance among IBPAP members with general labor standards and occupational safety and health practices to address the safety and protection of IT-BPM workers.

“The DOLE and the IBPAP share a common conviction that practices that protect the safety, health, and well-being of workers are essential to building long-term solution to national concerns and global challenges,” Baldoz said.

“Through this accord, the DOLE and the IBPAP demonstrate strong resolve to work together to increase awareness of the IT-BPM sector on general labor standards and OSH standards with a view to improve compliance, develop industry-specific best practices, and foster within the sector a culture of voluntary compliance with general labor standards and OSH regulations,” said Baldoz.

Under the agreement, the DOLE and the IBPAP will implement a two-year joint action plan to promote IT-BPM best people practices and voluntary compliance with general labor standards (GLS) and occupational safety and health (OSHS).

The agreement shall kick-off with an orientation of IBPAP members on labor law compliance and occupational safety and health standards this April. Both the DOLE and IBPAP shall create a technical working committee (TWG) for the immediate implementation of the action plan until 31 December 2015.

Other strategies and activities in the action plan are the development of IEC materials; joint assessment on IT-BPM establishments; surveys on occupational safety and health compliance; and compilation of relevant industry-specific information for future monitoring progress of the plan.

“This action plan is just the beginning of our long-term goal of addressing the real labor relations situation in the BPO industry,” Baldoz said.



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