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20. SOLID BANK V. GAMIER Solidbank.

Both parties appealed to the NLRC which declared


G.R. No. 159460 & 159461: November 15, 2010 that the dismissal was illegal. Solid bank appealed to the CA, but
it also ruled that the dismissal was illegal.
DOCTRINE: ISSUE:
 The fact that the conventional term "strike" was not used 1. Whether the rally violated the Order of the DOLE (YES)
by the striking employees to describe their common 2. Whether the employees were validly terminated (YES & NO)
course of action is inconsequential, since the substance 3. Whether the employees are entitled to separation pay (YES)
of the situation, and not its appearance, will be deemed HELD:
to be controlling. (1) The rally violated the Order of the DOLE. Article 212 of the
 The law provides that a union officer may be terminated Labor Code, as amended, defines strike as any temporary
from employment for knowingly participating in an stoppage of work by the concerted action of employees as a
illegal strike. However, a worker merely participating in result of an industrial or labor dispute. The fact that the
an illegal strike may not be terminated from conventional term "strike" was not used by the striking
employment. It is only when he commits illegal acts employees to describe their common course of action is
during a strike that he may be declared to have lost inconsequential, since the substance of the situation, and not its
employment. appearance, will be deemed to be controlling. The Supreme
Court has consistently ruled that once the Secretary of Labor
RECIT READY: assumes jurisdiction, it should not be interfered with the
FACTS: application of the coercive processes of a strike or lock-out.
Solidbank and Solidbank Employees Union were renegotiating (2) For knowingly participating in an illegal strike or
their CBA. But since there was a a deadlock, the Union filed a participating in the commission of illegal acts during a strike, the
Notice of Strike. Because of the impending strike, the DOLE law provides that a union officer may be terminated from
assumed jurisdiction over the labor dispute and directed employment. However, a worker merely participating in an
Solidbank to deduct a certain percentage off the lump sum illegal strike may not be terminated from employment. It is only
payment of the employees. The DOLE also ordered the Union when he commits illegal acts during a strike that he may be
from committing any acts that might exacerbate the situation. declared to have lost employment. The officers are validly
Dissatisfied, the Union filed a Motion for Reconsideration and dismissed, and the employees are reinstated.
decided to protest by holding a rally in front of the Office of the
Secretary of Labor. The employees did not work for 3 days, and FULL DIGEST:
Solidbank issued a Memorandum that those who did not go back
to work will be terminated. The terminated employees filed a FACTS:
case of illegal dismissal before two arbiters the first one ruled in
favour of employees, and the second ruled in favour of  Petitioner Solidbank and respondent Solidbank
Employees Union (Union) were set to renegotiate the appealed to the CA, but it also ruled that the dismissal
economic provisions of their 1997-2001 CBA to cover was illegal.
the remaining two years thereof.
 Seeing that an agreement was unlikely, the Union ISSUES:
declared a deadlock on and filed a Notice of Strike. In
(1) Whether the protest rally and concerted work
view of the impending actual strike, then Secretary of
abandonment/boycott staged by the respondents violated the
Labor and Employment Bienvenido E. Laguesma
Order of the Secretary of Labor;
assumed jurisdiction. The assumption order dated
directed the parties to cease and desist from committing (2) whether the respondents were validly terminated; and
any and all acts that might exacerbate the situation.
Secretary Laguesma resolved all economic and non- (3) whether the respondents are entitled to separation pay or
economic issues submitted by the parties. financial assistance.
 Dissatisfied with the Secretary’s ruling, the Union
officers and members decided to protest the same by HELD:
holding a rally infront of the Office of the Secretary of
Labor and Employment in Intramuros, Manila, (1) The Court has consistently ruled that once the Secretary of
simultaneous with the filing of their motion for Labor assumes jurisdiction over a labor dispute, such
reconsideration. The union members also picketed the jurisdiction should not be interfered with by the application of
banks Head Office in Binondo and Paseo de Roxas. the coercive processes of a strike or lockout. A strike that is
 As a result of the employees concerted actions, undertaken despite the issuance by the Secretary of Labor of an
Solidbanks business operations were paralyzed. assumption order and/or certification is a prohibited activity and
Solidbank then issued a Memorandum that those who did thus illegal.
not go back to work would be terminated. The herein 129
Article 264 (a) of the Labor Code, as amended, also considers it
individual respondents were among the 199 employees
a prohibited activity to declare a strike during the pendency of
who were terminated for their participation in the three-
cases involving the same grounds for the same strike. There is
day work boycott and protest action.
no dispute that when respondents conducted their mass actions
 The terminated employees filed a case of illegal
on April 3 to 6, 2000, the proceedings before the Secretary of
dismissal before two arbiters the first one ruled in favour
Labor were still pending as both parties filed motions for
of employees, and the second ruled in favour of
reconsideration of the March 24, 2000 Order. Clearly,
Solidbank. Both parties appealed to the NLRC which
respondents knowingly violated the aforesaid provision by
declared that the dismissal was illegal. Solid bank
holding a strike in the guise of mass demonstration simultaneous dismissal of herein respondent-union members are therefore
with concerted work abandonment/boycott. unjustified in the absence of a clear showing that they committed
specific illegal acts during the mass actions and concerted work
(2) However, a worker merely participating in an illegal strike boycott.
may not be terminated from employment. It is only when he
commits illegal acts during a strike that he may be declared to (3) Under the circumstances, respondent’s reinstatement without
have lost employment status. We have held that the backwages suffices for the appropriate relief. But since
responsibility of union officers, as main players in an illegal reinstatement is no longer possible, given the lapse of
strike, is greater than that of the members and, therefore, limiting considerable time from the occurrence of the strike, not to
the penalty of dismissal only for the former for participation in mention the fact that Solidbank had long ceased its banking
an illegal strike is in order. Hence, with respect to respondents operations, the award of separation pay of one (1) month salary
who are union officers, the validity of their termination by for each year of service, in lieu of reinstatement, is in order. For
petitioners cannot be questioned. Being fully aware that the the twenty-one (21) individual respondents who executed
proceedings before the Secretary of Labor were still pending as quitclaims in favor of the petitioners, whatever amount they
in fact they filed a motion for reconsideration of the March 24, have already received from the employer shall be deducted from
2000 Order, they cannot invoke good faith as a defense. their respective separation pay.

For the rest of the individual respondents who are union


members, the rule is that an ordinary striking worker cannot be
terminated for mere participation in an illegal strike. There must
be proof that he or she committed illegal acts during a strike. In
all cases, the striker must be identified. But proof beyond
reasonable doubt is not required. Substantial evidence available
under the attendant circumstances, which may justify the
imposition of the penalty of dismissal, may suffice. Liability for
prohibited acts is to be determined on an individual basis.
Petitioners have not adduced evidence on such illegal acts
committed by each of the individual respondents who are union
members. Instead, petitioners simply point to their admitted
participation in the mass actions which they knew to be illegal,
being in violation of the Secretary’s assumption order. The