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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Ople challenges BSP to state moral, legal grounds for outsourcing circular


Former labor undersecretary Susan Ople criticized the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for issuing a circular that allowed the outsourcing of human resources in banks and other financial institutions.

"This will lead to the wholesale replacement of hundreds and thousands of regular bank employees with agency-hired contractual workers at lower pay, less experience, and with no job security at all," Ople, a senatorial bet of the Nacionalista Party said, as she challenged the BSP to explain the legal and moral grounds behind its pro-outsourcing circulars.

The daughter of the late senator and Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople called on the Department of Labor and Employment to immediately meet with BSP officials to thresh out this intrusion into the department's mandate of promoting industrial peace and decent work. She said that information technology upgrades should not be used as a reason in shedding more regular jobs.

"We cannot afford to shed more full employment jobs amid rising unemployment and underemployment rates. This is a fight for economic survival for regular employees not just in the banking sector, but everywhere else," Ople added.

Leaders of the Banking and Financial Unions and employees' union officers from the Philippine National Bank (PNB), Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI), Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), Citibank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), Veterans Bank and Planters' Bank are up in arms against the BSP circular.

BSP Circular 268 sets forth policies related to outsourcing of jobs including identification of functions and operations that could be outsourced to service providers.

Among the operations that can be outsourced are Information Technology Systems/Processing, Data Imaging, Storage and Retrieval, Clearing and Processing of Checks, Printing of Bank Deposit Statements, Credit Card services, Printing of Bank Loan statements, credit investigation and collection, processing of export, imort and other trading transactions, messengerial, courier and postal services, security guard services and vehicle service contracts.

Ople said that with this circular, only managerial positions will be retained, leading to a massive demolition of regular jobs and weakening of trade unions within the banking sector.

"Clearly, there is a sensitivity chip missing on the part of the BSP and unless it withdraws Circular 268, it should brace itself for a firestorm of protests not only from bank employees but also from leaders and members of the entire labor movement," Ople warned.

The circular states:

Section 4.1  Subject to prior approval of the Monetary Board, banks may outsource data imaging, storage, retrieval and other related systems; clearing and processing of checks not included in the Philippine Clearing House System; printing of bank deposit statements; and such other  activities as may be determined by the Monetary Board. The bank concerned must submit the same documentary requirements listed in  Section 3.2 hereof, except where they exclusively pertain to information technology operations. 

Section 4.2. Banks may outsource credit card services; printing of bank loan statements and other non-deposit records, bank forms and promotional materials; credit investigation and collection; processing of export, import and other trading transactions; transfer agent services for debt   and   equity  securities; property appraisal; property   management services; messenger, courier and postal services; security guard services; vehicle service contracts; janitorial services; and such other activities as may be determined by the Monetary Board. 

"Such issuances given its impact on the lives of so many bank employees should have gone through consultations with bank unions, the labor department, and other stakeholders. The BSP should realize that one of the major push factors for migration is the lack of regular jobs in the country. Ironically, the chief tracker of dollar remittances is now pushing more workers out the door with its circular," Ople lamented.

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