Rights of Workers in Call Centers
How do call centers fare with regards respect of the rights of workers?
Right to Work and to a Just Wage
Call centers provide employment to a large number of Filipinos. One of the reasons why thousands of Filipinos flock to this industry is good money. The respondents admitted that there is financial stability in this online hub. Aside from the basic salary, they are rewarded with other benefits and incentives. Those who work on a night shift are receiving even more because of the differential pay.
Right to Physical Integrity
Negative Effects of Graveyard Shift
The irregular working hours of BPO employees is unfortunately taking a huge toll on the workers’ health, resulting in a condition known as shift-work-sleep disorder. This occurs when an employee’s work schedule requires her to work when the body wants to sleep, and sleep when the body expects to be awake. Sleepeducation.com explained that the symptoms of this disorder are tiredness, difficulty in sleeping, and reduced level of alertness.
The study conducted by the Bassett Research Institute and Harvard Medical School revealed that graveyard shift is potentially dangerous to women because it increases the risks of breast cancer.24 The disruption of one’s usual sleep patterns interrupts the nocturnal production of the hormone melatonin that slows down the growth of breast tumors. Since the majority of the call centers serve international clients, many workers are required to work the graveyard shift to coincide with customers’ working hours, hence producing negative impacts on their circadian rhythm.25
The graveyard shift can also be harmful for pregnant women, especially during the late pregnancy, because it increases the risk of fatigue and exhaustion, more so when they also travel to and from pre-natal check-ups during the day.26 Among the six women, it is only Nice who works on a day shift, so, she is still enjoying a relatively normal sleeping time.
More than the physical effects, there is the psychological impact on the night shifters. Crankiness and grouchiness are just few of the obvious effects of inadequate sleep. Because most call center employees lack exposure to sunshine and exercise, they are also susceptible to colds and flu.