JAMPRO supports Global Services Association efforts to protect BPO employees, industry during COVID-19Saturday, May 02, 2020
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica Promotions (JAMPRO) President, Diane Edwards, says the agency supports Global Services Association of Jamaica (GSAJ) efforts in working with operators in the industry to protect employees in the outsourcing sector and to prevent major long-term disturbances in services for the industry due to COVID-19.
Edwards comments follow the recent announcement of the two-week shutdown of the sector, as a result of the Alorica Call Centre COVID-19.
“What has happened is very unfortunate. It goes without saying that the health of employees and the wellbeing of our citizens is of utmost importance and as such we must commend the efforts made so far by those BPO (business process outsourcing) operators that implemented extensive social distancing and other measures,” Edwards said.
“What we must do now is work with industry stakeholders such as the GSAJ. The BPO industry is of vital importance to Jamaica, delivering essential services locally and internationally to banks, healthcare, utilities and legal operations. We are encouraged by the creation of the GSAJ's Health and Wellness Guidelines Against COVID-19 drafted specifically for BPO operations. This will curb further spread of COVID-19 as we look towards persons returning to work in the medium term, providing support for their family and contributing to the recovery of the Jamaican economy,” she continued.
The BPO industry in Jamaica has over 60 companies that currently employs over 40,000 people who work in sectors like healthcare, finance, logistics, telecommunications, information technology, and provide overall customer service.
“Now more than ever, during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reliant on remote assistance to maintain business operations in Jamaica and the world. Banks, telecommunications, utilities; they all rely on the BPO industry. The health of these persons is paramount, and I think the BPO service providers would agree with me; a balance must be maintained to first keep Jamaicans safe, and then to maintain a stable industry,” Edwards said.
The GSAJ President, Gloria Henry, said the association's membership is taking measures seriously, by making efforts to facilitate social distancing and work from home arrangements, amidst many challenges.
“To date approximately 12,000 persons are working at home. There have been challenges for widespread implementation, which includes, security issues, poor or no Internet service in areas of residence, inadequate domestic arrangements for the worker or, most importantly, no client approval,” she said.
Going forward, Henry said the association will be intensifying its activities to protect the industry and its employees, as “it is committed to the health and safety of employees”.