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BLTB v.

NLRC

FACTS: Tinig at Lakas ng Manggagawa sa BLTBCo NAFLU filed a Notice of Strike against the BLTBCo on
the grounds of unfair labor practice and violation of the CBA. Efforts at amicable settlement having failed,
Acting Labor Secretary Castro certified the dispute to the NLRC. A copy of the certification order was
served upon the union on August 30, 1988.

On August 31, 1988, the officers and members of the union went on strike and maintained picket lines
blocking the premises of BLTBCo's terminals.

On September 6, 1988, the NLRC issued an en banc resolution ordering the striking employees to lift
their picket and to remove all obstructions and barricades. All striking employees on payroll as of May 23,
1988 were required to return to work. BLTBCo, on the other hand, was directed to accept them back to
work within 5 days under the same terms and conditions prevailing before the strike. Of the some 1,730
BLTBCo employees who went on strike, only 1,116 reported back for work. Seventeen others were later
re-admitted. Subsequently, about 614 employees, including those who were allegedly dismissed for
causes other than the strike, filed individual complaints for illegal dismissal. Their common ground was
that they were refused admission when they reported back for work.

On July 19, 1991, the NLRC issued a resolution declaring the strike illegal but directing the reinstatement
of all striking employees who have not committed illegal acts. On September 16, 1991, the NLRC issued
the other challenged resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration of BLTBCo and Complainant
Pepito Abratique for lack of merit. BLTBCo was likewise directed to reinstate the union members
specifically named in the questioned resolution and all those striking employees who have not committed
illegal acts. BLTB then filed this special civil action for certiorari, claiming that the respondent NLRC
committed grave abuse of discretion.

ISSUE: WON the union members who participated in the illegal strike should not have been reinstated on
the ground that they defied the return-to-work order of the NLRC and thus abandoned their position

HELD: No. As correctly declared in the questioned resolution, only the officers of the union deserved to
be penalized with the loss of their employment status, under the principle of vicarious liability. The leaders
of the union are the moving force in the declaration of the strike and the rank-and-file employees merely
followed. While the general membership of the union may have joined the strike at its inception, the Court
was convinced that they returned to work on September 19, 1988 or, immediately thereafter.

The mere fact that the majority of the strikers were able to return to work does not necessarily mean that
the rest deliberately defied the return-to-work order or that they had been sufficiently notified thereof.

A worker who joins a strike does so precisely to assert or improve the terms and conditions of his
employment. If his purpose is to abandon his work, he would not go to the trouble of joining a strike.

The loss of employment status of striking union members is limited to those "who
knowingly participates in the commission of illegal acts." (Article 264, Labor Code)
Evidence must be presented to substantiate the commission thereof and not merely an
unsubstantiated allegation. He who asserts the commission of illegal acts, must prove the
same, and it is on the basis of substantiated evidence that this Commission declares the
loss of employment status of specific union members who have committed illegal acts.

Additionally, the court held that the right to strike is one of the rights recognized and guaranteed by the
Constitution as an instrument of labor for its protection against exploitation by management. By virtue of
this right, the workers are able to press their demands for better terms of employment with more energy
and persuasiveness, poising the threat to strike as their reaction to the employer's intransigence.
ELIZALDE ROPE FACTORY v. SSS

FACTS: The laborers of Elizalde Rope Factory went on strike which lasted from September 1957 to
February 1958. Edilberto Tupas, a laborer, was one of the strikers. During the period of time the strike
lasted, petitioner did not pay to the Social Security Commission any premium for Edilberto Tupas. It only
resumed to pay the premium after the period of strike up until May 1958, when Tupas died.

The Social Security Commission sent Bill No. 138 to petitioner in the amount of P10.27 representing its
contribution to the unpaid premium for Edilberto Tupas. The rope factory averred in a letter to the
commissioner that the amount of P9.45 representing employer’s 3-1/2% premium contribution for October
to December 1957 should be for the account of the late Edilberto Tupas for the reason that he was then
on strike and consequently, unemployed by the company. Mr. Tupas, during these months, received no
wages. The Company, however, was willing to pay the amount of P0.82 only, as underpaid premium for
the month of May, 1958.

The Social Security Commission sent a letter to the rope factory, declaring the strike “not unlawful” and
reiterating its demand to pay the amount of P10.27, pursuant to the Commission’s policies which states
that the employer will continue to remit his 3-1/2% contribution every month even without the employee's
2-1/2%, where there are no earnings on the part of the employee. The 3-1/2% will be based on the
month's earnings of the employee immediately preceding the month where there is no earning.

A memorandum was also sent by the Commission, recommending Elizalde Rope Factory to pay its 3-
1/2% contribution for the account of all strikers corresponding to the months covered by the strike, to be
based on the wages or compensation each of them received in August, 1957, or the month prior to the
strike.

The rope factory requested the Commission to reconsider its ruling requiring it to pay the 3-1/2%
contribution in question, contending that it is not required to pay such contribution corresponding to a
period of strike, because during such period a striker ceases to be an employee. Such request was
denied by the Commissioner.

ISSUE: Whether or not the social security premium corresponding to a period when a covered worker is
on strike be paid by the employer

HELD: YES. Although during a strike the worker renders no work or service and receives no
compensation, yet his relationship as an employee with his employer is not severed or dissolved. Strike is
the workers' means of expressing their grievances to employers and enforcing compliance with their
demands made upon them. And when laborers go on strike, it cannot be said that they intend to cut off or
terminate their relationship with their employer. On the contrary, a strike may improve the employer-
employee relationship bringing about better working conditions and more efficient services. Hence, the
petitioner's contention that Edilberto Tupas ceased to be an employee from 17 September 1957 to the
middle of February 1958 when he was on strike, cannot be sustained.

The Social Security System provides that that after an employee is compulsorily covered by the System
he and his employer will contribute to pay the premium every month during his employment. In the case
at bar, Edilberto Tupas was compulsorily covered in September 1957 by the System. When he was on
strike from 17 September 1957 to the middle of February 1958, his employment did not cease or end. For
such period, his monthly premium accrued and the petitioner as his employer must pay its 3-1/2%
contribution in accordance with circular No. 21 of the System.