At a steak and grill restaurant at SM North EDSA, on-the-job-trainees (OJTs) serve your tender steak, mop the floor, and present the bill for eight to nine hours without any pay. Without a doubt, the owner is all smiles this summer as labor costs are drastically cut, thanks to colleges and universities which allowed their students to be “de-virginized” in terms of labor exploitation.
Come to think of it: suppose the restaurant, Kangaroo Jack, pays regular employees the P404 minimum wage, and now taps 10 OJTs without any contractual obligation in terms of compensation, the employer saves P121,200 at the very least. Or to put it in another way, that could be almost 900 steak meals worth P135 sold in a breeze.
We can presume that this scheme is also rampant in other companies especially during this season of OJTs. Capitalists are maximizing the abudance of prospective OJTs to reduce costs and boost profits. In fact, companies are actively advertising OJT positions without necessarily providing the specific job description . Take for instance Unilever, Wipro BPO Philippines, and Fujitsu Ten. Of course, these companies would not declare that OJTs are bound for unpaid work.
Isn’t this the height of labor exploitation, when one works a tiring routine for nothing but so called “OJT experience”? Ironically, this OJT experience is packaged by the government and academe as requirement for graduation — which is in turn the starting point of perpetual exploitation.
What does the law say about OJTs? Unfortunately, the Labor Code provides leeway for the hiring of OJTs without compensation:
ART. 72. Apprentices without compensation. – The Secretary of Labor and Employment may authorize the hiring of apprentices without compensation whose training on the job is required by the school or training program curriculum or as requisite for graduation or board examination.
Certainly, eating in such sites of OJT exploitation leaves a bad taste in the mouth.