While much of the world use social media to connect with family, friends, and business
associates, Jamaicans use these platforms to share grievances. One frequent target of complaints
is the BPO sector, which moved from 12,000 employed to 40,000 in seven years. This dramatic
expansion brought issues that now get full airing on Twitter and TikTok, much of it unpleasant.
The social pressures and working conditions at the BPOs has become trending gossip.
Displeased workers describe the sector as practicing modern-day slavery. They offer posts about
monitored bathroom breaks, villainous management, unbearable work hours and wrongful pay
Typically in Jamaica, such claims would mean a call for unionization or a formal investigation
by the Ministry of Labour. But strict policies some BPOs enforce forestall such actions. Officials
seem concerned that intervention could result in a mass departure of these international clients.
BPOs are quick to tell developing countries where else in the world they can take their business
and find better reception. While that is not entirely true, it is a narrative they have weaponized
The complaints on social media remind us that while Jamaica's economy has benefited from
outsourcing, these companies gain the most. Believing no one will fight their cause is why
disgruntled call centre employees turn to social media to vent frustrations about long work hours
and meager pay.
Of course, you may wonder given the accusations of horror why so many young Jamaicans still
swarm Caribbeanjobs.com looking for BPO jobs. The reality is that most of them need work and
would rather take low paying jobs than stay at home unemployed.
Many look past the anxiety attacks and mental breakdowns to earn a “liveable wage” and have
the security of full-time work. Getting the sense of purpose that a job brings is full-filling, and
BPOs capitalize on that. They replenish their workforce constantly, confident there is always a
large pool of unemployed in countries like Jamaica. Sadly, we don’t see that changing anytime