‘No other way to fight back’: Philippines call center workers battle unfair quotas

By Michael Sainato/theguardian.com – Sara Prestoza has worked as a call center employee in the Philippines for 12 years, a country where several corporations such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon outsource their customer service and technical support services, relying on a cheap labor source of its 1.3 million call center workers.

Starting salary in some regions of the Philippines is as low as 5,000 pesos a month, equal to $92.70. The average pay is around 13,000 to 15,000 pesos a month ($240 to $270) for call center workers, with companies often setting salary and incentive caps to prevent wages from increasing. And the better you get at your job, the more likely you are to lose it.

Prestoza explained employees will be hired for one position, like technical support, but then given additional duties in customer service, billing and sales, all of which come with hourly quotas each employee must make to keep their job. The quotas are part of these companies’ employee development plans.

The quota for transactions or productivity will be steadily increased by employers until the worker can no longer make quota and gets terminated as a result. By firing workers on a regular basis, the outsourcing companies are able to replace them with even cheaper labor, while the worker has to find a job at another call center where they start over at entry level wages. As a result, the new call center receives an entry-level employee with the training and experience of a senior employee.

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