Monday, March 12, 2012

Manila Terminal Company, Inc. vs. Court Of Industrial Relations

Facts: On September 1, 1945, Herein petitioner undertook the arrastre service in some of the piers in Manila’s Port Area at the request and under the control of the U.S. Army. Petitioner hired some 30 men as watchmen on 12 hour shifts at a compensation of P3.00 per day for the day shift and P6.00 per day for the night shift. On February 1, 1946, the petitioner began the postwar operation of the arrastre service at the present at the request and under the control of the Bureau of Customs, by virtue of a contract entered into with Philippine Government. The watchmen of the petitioner continued in the service with a number of substitution and additions, their salaries having been raised during the month of February to P4.00 per day for the dayshift and P6.25 per day for the nightshift. 

Later, some of the members of the Manila Terminal Relief and Mutual Aid Association, sent a letter to the Department of Labor, requesting that the overtime pay be investigated, but nothing was done by the Department. On May 27, 1947 the petitioner instituted the system of strict 8 – hour shifts. On July 28, 1947 Manila Aid Association filed an amended petition with the Court of Industrial Relations praying, among others, that petitioner be ordered to pay its watchmen or police force overtime pay from the commencement of their employment. 

The case thereafter alleviated in which Judge Lanting ruled; 

1.) The decision under review should be affirmed in so far it grants compensation for overtime on regular days during the period from the date of entrance to duty to May 24, 1947, such compensation to consist of the amount that corresponds to the four hours’ overtime at the regular rate and an additional amount of 25 per cent thereof. 

2.) As the compensation for work done on Sundays and legal holidays, the petitioner should pay its watchmen the compensation that corresponds to the overtime (in excess of 8 hours) at the regular rate only. 

3.) The watchmen are not entitled to night differential pay for past service, and therefore the decision should be reversed. 

Hence, this petition, contending that the agreement under which its police force were paid certain specific wages for 12 hour shifts, included overtime compensation. 

Issue: Whether or not the agreement under which its police force were paid certain specific wages for 12 hour shifts, includes the overtime compensation? 

Held: No. The Court ruled that in times of acute employment, regardless of its terms and conditions, their main concern in the first place being admission to some work. The petitioner’s watchmen must have railroaded themselves into their employment for their subsistence, although they found themselves required to work for 12 hours a day. True, there was agreement to work, but it cannot fairly be supposed that they had the freedom to bargain in any way, much less to insist in the observance of the 8 hour labor law. 

Also, there was no reduction was made in the salaries which its watchmen received under the 12 hour arrangement. Although, it may be argued that the salary for the night shift was lessened, the fact that the rate for the day shift was increased in a sense tends to militate against the contention that the salaries given during the 12 hour shifts included overtime compensation. 

The law gives the Association the right to extra compensation. And they could not be held to have impliedly waived such extra compensation, for the obvious reason that could not have expressly waived it. 

It is high time that all employers were warned that the public is interested in the strict enforcement of the Eight – Hour Labor Law. This was designed not only to safeguard the health and welfare of the laborer or employee, but in a way to minimize unemployment by forcing employers, in cases where more than 8 – hour operation is necessary, to utilize different shifts of laborers or employees working only for 8 hour each. 

The appealed decision, in the form voted by Judge Lanting, is affirmed, it being understood that the petitioner’s watchmen will be entitled to extra compensation only from the dates they respectively entered the service of the petitioner.

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