Friday, February 03, 2012

DOLE Philippines Inc. vs. Pawis ng Makabayang Obrero, 2003

Facts: The petitioner and the respondent executed a CBA for the period starting February 1996 to February 2001. Under the bonuses and allowances section of the said CBA, a P10 meal allowance shall be given to employees who render at least 2 hrs of overtime work and free meals shall be given after 3 hours of actual overtime work.

Pursuant to this provision, some departments of granted free meals after exactly 3 ours of work. However, other departments granted free meals only after more than 3 hours of overtime work.

The respondent filed a complaint against Dole, saying that free meals should be granted after exactly 3 hrs of overtime work, not after more than 3 hrs. The parties agreed to settle the dispute to voluntary arbitration. It was decided in favor of the respondent, directing the petitioner to grant free meals after exactly 3 hrs of overtime work. CA affirmed. 

Issues:(1) Whether or not free meals should be granted after exactly 3 hrs of work

(2) Whether or not the petitioner has the right to determine when to grant free meals and its conditions

(1) YES. The same meal allowance provision is found in their previous CBAs, the 1985-1988 CBA and the 1990-1995 CBA. However, it was amended in the 1993-1995 CBA, by changing the phrase “after 3 hrs of overtime work” to “after more than 3 hrs of overtime work”. In the 1996-2001 CBA, the parties had to negotiate the deletion of the said phrase in order to revert to the old provision. Clearly, both parties had intended that free meals should be given after exactly 3 hrs of overtime work.

The disputed provision is clear and unambiguous, hence the literal meaning shall prevail. No amount of legal semantics can convince the Court that “after more than” means the same as “after”.

(2) NO. The exercise of management prerogative is not unlimited. It is subject to the limitations provided by law. In this case, there was a CBA, and compliance therewith is mandated by the express policy of the law. 

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1 comments: on "DOLE Philippines Inc. vs. Pawis ng Makabayang Obrero, 2003"

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