Monday, March 12, 2012

Sime Darby Pilipinas vs. NLRC [G.R. No. 119205, April 15, 1998]

Facts: Petitioner is engaged in the manufacture of automotive tires, tubes and other rubber products. Private respondent is an association of monthly salaried employees of petitioner at its Marikina factory. Beforehand, all company factory workers in Marikina including members of private respondent union worked from 7:45am to 3:45pm with a 30-minute paid “on call” lunch break. 

Petitioner issued a memorandum to all factory- based employees advising all its monthly salaried employees in its Marikina Tire Plant, except those in the Warehouse and Quality Assurance Department working on shifts. 

Private respondent felt affected adversely by the change in the work schedule and discontinuance of the 30-minute paid “on call” lunch break, hence the filling of complaint for unfair labor practice, discrimination and evasion of liability. The Labor Article dismissed the complainant on the ground that the change in the work schedule and the elimination of the 30-minute paid lunch break of factory workers constituted a valid exercise of management prerogative and did not decrease the benefits granted to factory workers as the working time did not go beyond 8 hours. Hence, this petition. 

Issue: Whether or not there was a diminution of benefits when the 30-minute paid lunch break was eliminated 

Held: The right to fix the work, schedules of the employees rests principally on their employer. The petitioner cities as reason for the adjustment the efficient conduct of its business operations and its improved production. Since the employees are no longer required during this one-hour lunch break, there is no more need for them to be compensated for this period. The new work schedule fully complies with the daily work period of eight (8) hours without violating the Labor Code. Also, the new schedule applies to all employees in the factory similarly situated whether they are union members or not; Even as the law is solicitous of the welfare of the employees; it must also protect the right of an employer to exercise what are clearly management prerogatives; Management retains the prerogative, whenever exigencies of the service so require, to change the working hours of its employees Petition is granted. The dismissed complaint against petitioner for unfair labor practice is affirmed.

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