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Alorica staff cry foul over pay cut for system outages

Published:Friday | June 19, 2020 | 12:07 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
President of the Global Services Association of Jamaica, formerly the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, Gloria Henry.
President of the Global Services Association of Jamaica, formerly the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, Gloria Henry.

ON THE heels of an extension of the work-from-home order for outsourcing companies, several Alorica staff members are hopping mad over the company’s refusal to compensate them for downtime due to system issues.

“They have this thing when they are having system issue, they say they not paying for system issues,” one disgruntled worker told The Gleaner. “I understand that when there is an outage or Wi-Fi problem, we can see with that and say, ‘Yeah’, but not when it’s their system and they not paying us.”

The worker further explained: “Say that we are out of the course for three hours because of their system issue, they are not going to pay us [for] three hours out of the eight-hour workday because of the system issue, and that is not fair.”

The situation has resulted in a number of workers seeing a plunge in their earnings.

“When the Internet nah work, I call the provider just to ensure that it’s no fault of mine – indirectly or directly – for the short hours,” another employee said. “But when it’s a system issue – like what I have been experiencing – and management wants to disregard it and shorten pay, that is not right.”

The workers further complained that the cut in earnings is unjust as they are not being assisted with utility bills by their employer as they work from home. These obligations, they say, now have to be met from the shaved salaries.

The work-from-home order, which expired on May 31 as the island battles the coronavirus pandemic. However, some companies have extended the work-from-home arrangement.

“The work-at-home arrangement is okay so far, but it’s the system issue really throwing off the thing,” one Alorica employee said. “Normally, when you deh a work, you no have to go through system issue like this, and you are sure that you getting paid in full and everything.”

Alorica, the largest cluster of the spread of COVID-19 in Jamaica, has been linked to more than 230 of the island’s confirmed cases.

Email queries sent to Sunny Yu, director of communications at Alorica, were not answered up to press time.

However, Gloria Henry, president of the Global Services Association of Jamaica, which represents players in the business process outsourcing sector, said that she has not heard any complaint of system issues, but her association has been dealing with other concerns.

“I am familiar with the utilities concern, that people are having power outages. Connectivity issues has been the main concern, some customers having bandwidth issues or failure with the Internet services,” Henry told The Gleaner.

“We have been speaking with the telecoms provider, and they have been responsive in terms of when we call and when we get reports and we relate to them, they have tried to respond. However, as you can well imagine, there might be capacity issues because there are so many other sectors where employees are working from home, and I don’t think it’s unique to Jamaica as well, but it still calls into question the need for us to look at some long-term solution with the work-from-home arrangement.”