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NATURE OF THE MASS ACTION DIRECTED AGAINST DOLE AFTER

THE ASSUMPTION OF JUSRISDICTION BY THE SECRETARY OF


LABOR
Case:
Solidbank Corporation etc., v. Solid Bank Union, et al., G.R. No.
159461, 15 November 2010.
Facts:
During the collective bargaining negotiations between
Solidbank and its Union, the latter declared a deadlocked and some
union members staged a series of mass actions. In view of an
impending actual strike, the secretary of labor assumed jurisdiction
over the labor dispute and directed the parties to cease and
decease from committing any and all acts that might exacerbate
the situation.
Subsequently, thereafter, an overwhelming majority of union
members mounted a mass leave and protest action at the DOLE
premises against the assumption order f the Secretary of labor, while
the banks provincial branches joined in and boycotted regular
work; thus, paralyzing bank operations nationwide. The employees
work abandonment/boycott lasted for 3 days.
Issue: Is the protest action staged by the employees a legitimate
exercise of their right for free expression, and not a strike prescribed
when the Secretary of Labor assumed jurisdiction over the impasse
between the Bank and the Union in the collective bargaining
negotiation?
Ruling: It is a strike.
Article 212 of the Labor Code, as amended, defines strike as any
temporary stoppage of work by the concerted action of employees
as a result of an industrial or labor dispute.
The fact that the conventional term "strike" was not used by the
striking employees to describe their common course of action is
inconsequential, since the substance of the situation, and not its
appearance, will be deemed to be controlling. The Supreme Court
has consistently ruled that once the Secretary of Labor assumes
jurisdiction, it should not be interfered with the application of the
coercive processes of a strike or lock-out.

NO STRIKE, NO LOCK-OUT CLAUSE IN THE CBA


No Strike No Lock-out clause in the CBA applies only to
economic strikes. Hence, if the strike is founded on an unfair
labor practice of the employer, a strike declared by the union
cannot be considered a violation of the no-strike clause.
(See case: Master Iron Labor Union v. NLRC)

No Strike No Lock-out provision in the Collective Bargaining


Agreement (CBA) is a valid stipulation but may be invoked only
by the employer when the strike is economic in nature or oe
that is conducted to force wage or other concessions from the
employer what are not mandated to be granted by the law. It
would be in applicable to grant a strike which is grounded on
unfair labor practice.
(See case: Panay Electric Company Inc. v NLRC)

The strike conducted by the union was illegal for being in


violation of the no stike, no lock-out proviso and for failure to
bring Unions grievances under the grievance procedure in the
Collective Bargaining Agreement.
(See case: Panay Electric Company Inc. v NLRC, ibid and Sons
Inc. v. CA, et al.,)

The workers unjustified unilateral alteration of the 24 hour work


schedule through their concerted activities of overtime
boycott and work slow down can be classified as a strike on
an installment basis. It is constituted a violation of their CBA,
which prohibits the union of employee, during the existence of
the CBA, to stage a strike or engage in slowdown or interruption
of work.
(See case: Interphil Laboratories Employees Union-FFW, et al, v.
Interphil Laboratories, Inc., et al.,)

RUNAWAY SHOP Defined

A runaway shop is defined as an industrial plant moved by


its owners from one location to another to escape union labor
regulations or state laws, but the term is also used to describe a
plant removed to a new location in order to discriminate
against employees at the old plant because of their union
activities.[14] It is one wherein the employer moves its business
to another location or it temporarily closes its business for anti-
union purposes.[15] A runaway shop in this sense, is a relocation
motivated by anti-union animus rather than for business
reasons. In this case, however, Ionics was not set up merely for
the purpose of transferring the business of Complex. At the time
the labor dispute arose at Complex, Ionics was already existing
as an independent company. As earlier mentioned, it has been
in existence since July 5, 1984. It cannot, therefore, be said that
the temporary closure in Complex and its subsequent transfer
of business to Ionics was for anti-union purposes. The Union
failed to show that the primary reason for the closure of the
establishment was due to the union activities of the employees.

INNOCENT BY STANDER RULE


An innocent bystander, who seeks to enjoin a labor strike,
must satisfy the court that aside from the grounds specified in
Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, it is entirely different from, without
any connection whatsoever to, either party to the dispute and,
therefore, its interests are totally foreign to the context thereof
(MFS Tire and Rubber, Inc. vs. CA, G.R. No. 128632, 1999).

Employer as bystander rule

In all cases, whether the petition for certification election is filed


by the employer or a legitimate labor organization, the
employer shall not be considered a party thereto with a
concomitant right to oppose a petition for certification
election. The employer's participation shall be limited to being
notified or informed of the petition and submission of the list of
employees during the pre-election conference should the
med-arbiter act favorably on the petition. (Article 285-A, R.A.
9481).

QUESTIONS ON COMPENSATION OF STRIKING WORKERS


The union members who were merely instigated to participate in he
illegal strike should be treated differently from their leaders. Part of
the benign consideration for labor is the policy of reinstating rank
and file workers who were merely misled in supporting illegal strikes.
Nonetheless, this reinstated workers shall not be entitled to back
wages as they should not be compensated for services skipped
during the illegal strike.
General Rule:
Backwages shall not be awarded in an economic strike on the
principle that a fair days wage accrues only for a fair days
labor. This court must thus hearken to its policy that when
employees voluntarily go on strike, even if in protest against unfair
labor practice. No backwages during the strike is awarded. Even in
cases of ULP strikes, award for backwages rests on the courts
discretion and only in exceptional cases.
Exceptions to the no backwages rule:
a) When the employees were illegally locked out thus compel
them to stage a strike;
b) When the employer is guilty of the grossest form of ULP;
c) When the employer committee discrimination in the rehiring of
strikers by refusing to readmit those against whom there were
pending criminal cases while admitting nonstrikers who were
also criminally charged in court;
d) When the workers who staged the voluntary ULP strike offered
to return to work unconditionally but the employer refuse to
reinstate them.

Requisites for the entitlement to backwages of strikers:

a) The strike was legal


b) There was an unconditional offer to return to work; and
c) The strikers were refused reinstatement.

ARE THE STRIKERS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF WAGES DURING THE


PERIOD OF A LAWFUL STRIKE?

A. As a general rule, striking employees are not entitled to


the payment of wages for unworked days during the
period of the strike pursuant to the principle of No work-
No pay. However, this does not preclude the parties
from entering into an agreement to the contrary.

On the other hand, when strikers abandon the strike and


apply for reinstatement despite the existence of valid
grounds but the employer either refuses to reinstate them
or imposes upon their reinstatement new conditions that
constitute unfair labor practices, the strikers, who refuse to
accept the new conditions and are consequently refused
reinstatement, are entitled to the losses of pay they may
have suffered by reason of the employers discriminatory
acts from the time they were refused reinstatement.

WAIVER OF ILLEGALITY OF STRIKE


When the employer accedes to the peaceful settlement
brokered by the NLRC by agreeing to accept all employees who
had not yet returned to work, it waives the issue of the illegality of the
strike, unless the employer did so without prejudice to whatever legal
action it may take against those who take illegal acts.
LOCKOUT
Association of Independent Unions in the Philippines v. National
Labor Relations Commission
Held:

Requirements of a valid lockout:


Art. 263 (f), Labor Code:
A decision to declare a lockout must be approved by a
majority of the total union membership in the bargaining unit
concerned, obtained by secret ballot in meetings or referenda
called for that purpose. The decision shall be valid for the duration
of the period based on substantially the same grounds considered
when the strike or lockout vote was taken.
The ministry man on its own initiative or upon the request of
any affected party, supervise the conduct of the secret balloting. In
every case, the union or the employer shall furnish the ministry the
results of the voting at least seven days before the intended strike or
lockout subject to the cooling off period herein provided.
All the requisites for a valid strike likewise apply for lockout to be
valid.
Thus, it must be for lawful purpose, undertaken through lawful
means, and in compliance with the procedural requirements of law
such as: notice of lockout, cooling off period, taking an dfiling of
lockout vote, and seven day lockout ban.
PICKETING
MSF Tire and Rubber, Inc. v. Court of Appeals
Held:

The law prohibits any person engaged in from obstructing free


ingress to or egress from employers premises fro lawful
purposes.
See case: Chua v. NLRC
Pickets may not aggressively interfere with the right of peaceful
ingress to or egress from the employers shop or obstruct public
thoroughfares; picketing is not peaceful where a sidewalk or
entrance to a place of business is obstructed by picketers
parading around in a circle or lying on the sidewalk.
See case: Phimco Industries, Inc. v Phimco Industries Labor
Association
The act of the workers in failing to heed the order of their superior
form joining the picket line is only tantamount to insubordination.
Which cannot be considered a san illegal or unlawful act committed
during the strike to justify their dismissal from employment.
See case: International Container Terminal Services v. NLRC
LIBELOUS STATEMENTS
The act of employee in publishing his suspicion in a newspaper,
that his employer exerting political pressure on a public official to
thwart some legitimate activities of the employees, which charge in
the least, would sully the employers reputation, is held to be an act
inimical to the employers interest, and the fact that the same was
made in the union newspaper does not alter its deleterious
character nor shield or protect it on the ground that it is a union
activity, because such end can be achieved without resortto
improper conduct or behavior. Such act constitutes a misconduct
which is a just cause for dismissal.
See case: Eugenio Lopez, Sr., et al. v. Chronicles Publications
Employees Associations, et a.
RULES ON PICKETING
Guidelines on Removal of Illegal Blockage at factory gates, DOLE
Memo dated 22 October 1987
Picketing as part of the freedom of expression during strikes shall be
respected, provided that it is peaceful. Shanties and structures set
up to effectively block lawfull ingress to, and egress from, company
premises for legal purposes and the free passage to public
thoroughfares may be summarily demolished in accordance with
law.
Guidelines for Conduct of PNP/AFP Personnel during Strikes, Lockouts
and other labor disputes, DOLE Memo dated October 1987
1. Obstructions on places and thoroughfares devoted to public
use, such as the streets, sidewalks, alleys and the like are
NUISANCES PER SE. A s such, they may be removed summarily
the local government authorities, through their respective law
enforcement autoritie, and they ma act independently of the
DOLE even if said obstructions are played as a result of or in
connection with a pending labor strike.

2. However, obstructions on points of ingress/egress within private


properties during labor dispute, although likewise prohibited by
law, cannot be summarily demolished by la enforcement
authorities. Instead these obstructions and barricades may be
removed only in accordance with the proper orders issued by
the DOLE Office of the Secretary, or the NLRC, with proper
coordination between the said labor officials and the police
authorities to ensure that no undue harm is inflicted upon any
person and property.