The Discoverer

CAFETERIA’S STRUGGLES OUTSIDE OUR SOCIAL BUBBLE

Cafeteria+employees+still+working+at+5%3A30+p.m+in+TCS%2C+after+10+hours+of+work.
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CAFETERIA’S STRUGGLES OUTSIDE OUR SOCIAL BUBBLE

Cafeteria employees still working at 5:30 p.m in TCS, after 10 hours of work.

Cafeteria employees still working at 5:30 p.m in TCS, after 10 hours of work.

Cafeteria employees still working at 5:30 p.m in TCS, after 10 hours of work.

Cafeteria employees still working at 5:30 p.m in TCS, after 10 hours of work.

Tomas Echeverri, The Discoverer Staff

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3:30 a.m, the alarm clock goes off. Birds have not even started to chirp, but TCS cafeteria employees are getting ready for a long day of work.

ServiExpress cafeteria employees from the Columbus school start their workday riding a bus when the sun hasn’t even come out. This bus takes them to their closest metro station, which they will later ride in order to get to Exposiciones by 5:30 a.m where the school bus will be waiting to take the 34 employees to TCS. The drive from the metro to the school will last 30 minutes, culminating to the beginning of their workday.

“There are two schedules for work, one that goes from 6:00 a.m to 4:30 p.m, and the other one that goes from 7:00 a.m to 5:30 p.m. We change the employee’s’ schedules every month,” explained Bibiana Cano, cafeteria’s supervisor. “The employees also take a long time arriving home because they live very far from TCS; some of them live in La Estrella which makes their daily schedule even longer.”

Being awake for more than 17 hours a day and receiving the minimum salary which is $737.717 COP monthly, summarizes TCS’ cafeteria employees labor life.

Having no time to spend with their family members is a struggle they need to face every working day, but is one of their many sacrifices.

“I wake up at 3:15 a.m, and I arrive after to my house at 7:00 p.m after work, when I follow the 6:00 a.m schedule,” explained Sandra Gomez, an employee from TCS’ cafeteria. “When I arrive home it is to rest; I’m already exhausted at that time of day.”

When a worker gets employed, he commits himself to follow The Ordinary Working Day which “is the time to which a worker commits himself, to work at the service of an employer, within an employment relationship,” according to the Ministry of Labor of the Republic of Colombia. As the cafeteria employees commit themselves to ServiExpress’ terms and agreements, they seem to be satisfied with their salary correlation.

“With respect to my salary, I feel it is fair. All of us employees know what the rules of our work are, and among these, we know that we must work certain hours a day,” explained Sara Suárez, the youngest cafeteria employee. “We must serve with 8 working hours per day, but since we do not work on Saturdays we must replace these hours during the school week.”

Some of TCS students claimed that cafeteria employees should receive a higher salary and that the employee’s conformity with the minimum salary is a cause of the lack of job opportunities they have received, and of how their work is despised from many external eyes.

“It’s very tough on the cafeteria employees because it’s a very hard work. They receive the minimum salary, and students don’t give them the treatment they should receive,” clarified TCS junior Amalia Triana. “By treating employees in a bad way, we are leading them to not liking their work, and it’s the only work they have. We need to understand that for these girls, this is the only work opportunity available, so even though they are not satisfied with it, they can’t really leave.”

Few of TCS students appreciate the hard work cafeteria employees are exposed to daily. The lack of sensibility and empathy students feel toward employees, is due to the absence of knowledge about cafeteria staff members’ daily routines and personal lives.

“If we could learn about the harsh lives the cafeteria staff need to face daily, and about their extensive and exhausting day of work; maybe a greater sense of citizenship and appreciation toward them could grow in every student,” said TCS Junior Antonia Gaviria, expressing her disapproval.

 

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