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LAPANDAY WORKERS UNION v. NLRC

 

J. Puno

September 7, 1995

G.R. Nos. 95494 - 97

Doctrine

A strike is "any temporary stoppage of work by the concerted action of employees as a result of an industrial or labor dispute." It is the most preeminent of the economi c weapons of workers which they unsheathe to force management to agree to an equitable sharing of the joint product of labor and capital. Undeniably, strikes exert some disquieting effects not only on the relationship between labor and management but also on the general peace and progress of society. Our laws thus regulate their exercise within reasons by balancing the interests of labor and management together with the overarching public interest. Some of the limitations on the exercise of the right of str ike are provided for in paragraphs (c) and (f) of Article 263 of the Labor Code, as amended

Summary

Petitioner union struck against private respondents because of many problems, especially the killing of one of the union members by a security guard hired by respondents. T he tribunals and the Court held that the strike was illegal bec ause it failed to comply with the requirements of law.

Facts

Petitioner union has a CBA with private respondents (sister companies), spanning the period from December 5, 1985 until November 30, 1988. A few months before the CBA expired, private respondents initiated certain management policies that disrupted the relationship of the parties:

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First, private respondents contracted Philippine Eagle Protectors and Security Agency, Inc, to provide security services for their business premises. Petitioner union branded the security guards as “goons” and “special for ces” and accused the guards of intimidating its members.

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Second, petitioner union contends that private respondents seminars on Human Development and Industrial Relations (HDIR) tagged ANGLO (the organization the union was affiliated with) as leftist.

Duri ng a labor - management meeting, the union agreed to allow its members to attend the HDIR seminar for RNF employees, but later, it retracted this decision. Before this, the Union picketed the premises of the Phil. Eagle Protectors to show their displeasure i n the hiring of the guards.

The Union filed a Notice of Strike with the NCMB, accusing the company of ULP consisting of coercion of employees, intimidation of union members, and union busting. The NCMB called a conciliation conference which yielded the agr eement that the Union officers will attend the HDIR seminar and a committee shall convene to establish guidelines governing the guards. With the apparent settlement of the differences, private respondents notified the NCMB that there were no more bases for the notice of strike.

However, in September 8, 1988, Danilo Martinez, a member of the Board of Directors of the Union, was gunned down in his house in the presence of his wife and children. The gunman was later identified to be Eledio Samson, an alleged m ember of the new security forces of private respondents.

As a result, most of the union members refused to report for work, and those who did refused to comply with the “quota system” adopted by the management to bolster production output. Allegedly, the union instructed the workers to reduce their production to 30%, so the union was charged with economic sabotage through slowdown.

Private respondents filed charges against the union for illegal strike, ULP and damages, with prayer for injunction. After man y futile attempts to have the parties reconcile, Digong Duterte, then Mayor, intervened. The dialogues, however, still proved to be fruitless.

A strike vote was conducted among the union members which garnered overwhelming support, so it struck two days later . (IMPT)

LA: The Union s t aged an illegal strike. NLRC upheld the LA decision.

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It should be noted that before the promulgation of the decision, the Union filed a complaint for ULP and illegal suspension against LADECO, which was granted on the union’s behalf. Specifically, the deci sion considered the refusal of the workers to report for work justified because of Danilo Martinez’s killing. Private respondents appealed this decision claiming that this was an error considering the legality of the strike was already passed upon by the R egional Arbitration Branch.The

Ratio/Issues

I. W/N the strike was legal.

 

[See Doctrine] Article 263(f) of the Labor Code says that in every case, when there is a decision to declare a strike, the union or the employer shall furnish the Ministry the results of the voting at least 7 days before the intended strike or lockout subject to the cooling - off period herein provided.

The strike conducted by the union was plainly illegal because it was held within the 7 days waiting period. T he haste in holding the strike prevented the DOLE from verifying whether it carried the approval of the majority of the union members.

The decision of limiting the penalty only to the leaders of the union is uphold. T hey cannot claim good faith to exculpate themselves because they admitted knowledge of the law of strik e , including its procedure. T hey

Held

cannot violate the law which was cast to promote their interest. Petition dismissed.

Prepared by : JR ( Labor | Daway )