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Because of the continued impasse the union went on

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Because of the continued impasse, the union went on strike. The Secretary of Labor and Employmentimmediately assumed jurisdiction over the dispute to avert widespread electric power interruption inthe country. After extensive discussions and the filing of position papers (before the NationalConciliation and Mediation Board and before the Secretary himself) on the validity of the union'sstrike and on the wage and other economic issues (including the retirement issue), the DOLE Secretaryruled on the validity of the strike and on the disputed CBA issues, and ordered the parties to execute aCBA based on his rulings.Did the Secretary of Labor exceed his jurisdiction when he proceeded to rule on the parties' CBApositions even though the parties did not fully negotiate on their own? (2013 Bar Questions)SUGGESTED ANSWER:No. The power of the Secretary of Labor under Article 263(g) is plenary. He can rule on all issues,questions or controversies arising from the labor dispute, including the legality of the strike, even thoseover which the Labor Arbiter has exclusive jurisdiction. (Bagong Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa saTriumph International v. Secretary, G.R. Nos. 167401 and 167407, July 5, 2010)Q:LiwanagCorporation is engaged in the power generation business. Astalemate was reached duringthe collective bargaining negotiations between its management and the union. After following all therequisites provided by law, the union decided to stage a strike. The management sought the assistanceof the Secretary of Labor and Employment, who assumed jurisdiction over the strike and issued areturn-to-work order. The union defied the latter and continued the strike. Without providing anynotice,LiwanagCorporation declared everyone who participated in the strike ashaving lost theiremployment. (2014 Bar Question)
(A)WasLiwanagCorporation’s action valid?SUGGESTED ANSWER:Yes. A strike that is undertaken despite the issuance by the Secretary of Labor of an assumptionor certification order becomes an illegal act committed in the course of a strike. It rendered the strikeillegal. The Union officers and members, as a result, are deemed to have lost their employment status forhaving knowingly participated in an illegal act (Union of Filipro Employees v. Nestle Philippines, Inc.,192SCRA 369 [1993]).Such kind of dismissal under Article 264 can immediately be resorted to as anexercise of management prerogative (Biflex v. Filflex Industrial, 511 SCRA 247 [2006]).SUGGESTED ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:No.Liwanag Corporation cannot outrightly declare the defiant strikers to have lost theiremployment status.“(A)s in other termination cases”, the strikers are entitled to due process protectionunder Article 277 (b) of the Labor Code.Nothing in Article 264 of the Code authorizes immediatedismissal of those who commit illegal acts during a strike (Stanford Marketing Corp. v. Julian, 423 SCRA633 (2004);Suico v. NLRC,513 SCRA 325 [2007]).

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Term
Winter
Professor
N/A
Tags
Employment compensation, The Grave,

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