De Ocampo vs. NLRC

Posted: April 15, 2015 in case digests, labor relations, laborlaw, school
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G.R. No. 101539

September 4, 1992

Facts: Cecile de Ocampo and the other petitioners are employees of the Baliwag Mahogany Corporation. They are either officers or members of the Baliwag Mahogany Corporation Union-CFW, the existing collective bargaining agent of the rank and file employees in the company.

In 1988, the company and the union entered into a CBA containing, among other things, provisions on conversion into cash of unused vacation and sick leaves; grievance machinery procedure; and the right of the company to schedule work on Sundays and holidays.

In November, 1989, the union made several requests from the company.The company ruled to allow payment of unused vacation and sick leaves for the period of 1987-1988 but disallowed cash conversion of the 1988-1989 unused leaves.

The company suspended 20 employees for a period of 3 days because of failure to render overtime work. On the same day, the union filed a notice of strike on the grounds of ULP particularly the violation of the CBA provisions on non-payment of unused leaves and illegal dismissal of seven (7) employees.

Later on, the company issued a notice of termination to three employees or union members including Cecile de Ocampo allegedly to effect cost reduction and redundancy. The members of the union conducted a picket at the main gate of the company. On the same day, the company filed a petition to declare the strike illegal with prayer for injunction against the union.

During the election of union officers, Cecile de Ocampo was elected as president.

During the conciliation meeting held at NCMB, the issue pertaining to the legality of the termination of three union members was raised by the union. But both parties agreed to discuss it separately.

The union requested for the presence of a NCMB representative during a strike vote held by the union. The strike vote resulted in favor of the strike. The union staged a strike.

Afterwards, the company filed a petition to assume jurisdiction with the DOLE. The company also filed an amended petition, praying among other things, that the strike staged by the union be declared illegal, there being no genuine strikeable issue and the violation of the no-strike clause of the existing CBA between the parties.

The Secretary of Labor in an order, certified the entire labor dispute to the respondent Commission for compulsory arbitration and directed all striking workers including the dismissed employees to return to work and the management to accept them back.

The sheriff, with the assistance of the policemen removed the barricades and opened the main gate of the company.

Criminal complaints for illegal assembly, grave threats, and grave coercion werefiled against the petitioners.

The union, through its President Cecile de Ocampo, requested the Regional Director of DOLE, to intervene in the existing dispute with management.

The respondent Commission rendered a decision declaring the strikes staged illegal.

Issue: Whether or not there is a legal basis for declaring the loss of employment status by petitioners on account of the strike in respondent Company.

Held: Yes. The Solicitor General claims that it is undisputed that the union resorted to illegal acts during the strike arguing that private respondent’s personnel manager specifically identified the union officers and members who committed the prohibited acts and actively participated therein.

Ratio: The law on the matter is Article 264 (a) of the Labor Code, to wit:

Article 264.    (a) Prohibited activities. (a) ––

No strike or lockout shall be declared after assumption of jurisdiction by the President or the Minister or after certification or submission of the dispute to compulsory or voluntary arbitration or during the pendency of cases involving the same grounds for the strike or lockout.

Any worker whose employment has been terminated as a consequence of an unlawful lockout shall be entitled to reinstatement with full backwages. Any union officer who knowingly participates in an illegal strike and any worker or union officer who knowingly participates in the commission of illegal acts during a strike may be declared to have lost his employment status…

The Solicitor General maintains that the illegality of the strike likewise stems from the failure of the petitioners to honor the certification order and heed the return-to-work order issued by the Secretary of Labor.

Unrebutted evidence shows that the individual petitioners defied the return-to-work order of the Secretary of Labor. Hence, the termination of theservices of the individual petitioners is justified on this ground alone.

Dispositive: The petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the resolution of the respondent Commission is hereby AFFIRMED.

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