Militant Trade Unionism


With BPO workers being a class of highly-educated elite, no one would think of them as associating with a militant trade union. Trade unions emerge when workers get a raw deal. They resort to militant tactics only when negotiations fail.

In April 2016, some 36,000 Verizon workers went on strike in the United States. This forced the company’s call center employees in the Philippines to work extra shifts. While this was is not uncommon in the BPO industry, the problem was that the Filipinos weren’t being paid for the overtime they put in.

They got in touch with the Communications Workers of America, the trade union behind the Verizon employees’ strike; and Uni, an international trade union. These unions sent over their representatives and they were joined by the Kilusang Mayo Uno. Together, they organized the Filipino workers and staged a protest outside Verizon headquarters in the Philippines.

While a strike did not happen, there is all the possibility that one might – the KMU is known for its shows of aggressive militant trade unionism. This would send out the wrong message to companies looking to set up and expand their BPO operations in the Philippines.