Friday, March 02, 2012

Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa v. NLRC

Facts: There was a wage order that caused a wage distortion within the company. 

Union then proposed to the mgt. that the wage distortion be corrected by implementing a 25php wage increase, which it later lowered to 15php. The Company, however, only effected a 7php wage increase. The union considered the mgt.’s move as the company ignoring their demands. 

As a result, the union decided to work only for 8 hours per day, against the company practice for 5 years of having the workers work 10 to 14-hour work shifts. 

This caused the company, SMC losses, due to diminished productivity, prompting it to file a complaint with the NLRC seeking the declaration of the said union’s activity (strike/slowdown) as illegal. 

Issue: Whether or not said slowdown/strike is illegal 

Held: It is illegal, on several grounds. 

The Court concedes the workers’ right to self organization and to concerted activities in exercise of that right. The Court also pointed out that common examples are strike/temporary stoppage of work, and picketing. 

However, the Court also points out that such right is not absolute and may be limited by law. In this case, the Court pointed out that: 

The legality of these activities is usually dependent on the legality of the purposes sought to be attained and the means employed therefor. These joint or coordinated activities may be forbidden or restricted by law or contract. 

In the particular instance of "distortions of the wage structure within an establishment" resulting from "the application of any prescribed wage increase by virtue of a law or wage order," Section 3 of Republic Act No. 6727 prescribes a specific, detailed and comprehensive procedure for the correction thereof, thereby implicitly excluding strikes or lockouts or other concerted activities as modes of settlement of the issue.

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