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Home > India > Business > Business Headline > Report

Staff security: BPOs have a new plan

Kaustubh Kulkarni in Pune | March 13, 2008 01:07 IST
Last Updated: March 13, 2008 08:24 IST

Taking the first concrete step towards curtailing the rising incidents of crime against business process outsourcing (BPO) staffers, a group of 32 Pune-based BPOs and National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) have framed a 'code of conduct' to ensure their physical security.


The code of conduct, which is soon expected to be replicated across the country, deals with aspects such as security during travel, selection of transport vendors, internal communication and security within company premises.


Pune city has a BPO community of more than 95,000 and some 3,000 cars and jeeps are used as pick-up and drop vehicles for them by the 32 units.


Prominent players like Wipro [Get Quote], Zensar, WNS, KPIT Cummins, Mphasis and Ocean Connect have all agreed to implement the code of conduct framed by the best practises committee.


"BPO staffers have been facing severe attacks, which mostly occur during the commute time. We thought about reaching a comprehensive solution to this problem and designed this code of conduct that every NASSCOM-attached BPO will observe," says Nasscom Vice Chairman and Zensar Technologies Managing Director Ganesh Natarajan.


The development assumes significance in the context of the Supreme Court recently allowing the prosecution of Nasscom President Som Mittal for "not providing adequate security and protection" (when he was managing direction of the BPO firm, HP GlobalSoft) to a woman employee who was raped and murdered when being driven back home at night by the firm's driver.


Moreover, recent crimes against BPO staffers in Pune also pushed various companies to think seriously over the "security" aspects of their staffers.


The developments started after Jyoti Kumari, a staffer with Wipro BPO was raped and murdered in Pune by cab drivers on November 3, 2007.


In a similar incident, four BPO staffers working in Magarpatta City were robbed of their valuables by unknown armed men last year in Pune. Bangalore had also witnessed an incident where a BPO staffer was attacked with acid.


Few BPOs had, then, installed global positioning system (GPS) devices in cabs while some had appointed security escorts for women staffers.


However these efforts were confined to only few BPO set-ups. All this led NASSCOM and Pune BPOs to set up a "Best Practices Committee" that framed this code of conduct over the last five months.


"We want BPOs to conduct regular audits of existing transport systems and examine the punctuality, speeding of vehicles and instances of unacceptable behavious by cab drivers," said a BPO representative and also a committee member.


The code also asks BPOs to validate the registration documents of vendor companies that provide transport vehicles.


As per the code, BPOs also need to conduct a background check of security and transport staff employed by the vendor and verify if the drivers have valid driving licenses.


The code also states that employees should always fully charge their cellphone before boarding the cab. Employees should save the helpline numbers on cellphone and keep it on speed-dial mode. The code says, BPO staffers should have a good and decent driver inside the car and should not discuss personal issues with a cab driver.


"We also plan to organise regular seminars at various IT hubs and educate BPO-employable crowd about the job opportunities in BPOs and advantages of the same. Pune-based BPOs will start implementing the code of conduct immediately. The same model will be replicated across the country at later stages," Natarajan added



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