Monday, April 09, 2012

State Marine Corporation vs. Cebu Seamen’s Association [G.R. No. L-12444 February 28, 1963]

Facts: The petitioners were engaged in the business of marine coastwise transportation. They had a CBA with the Cebu Seamen’s Association. On September 12, 1952, the respondent union filed a complaint against the petitioners alleging that the officers and men working on board the petitioners’ vessels have not been paid their sick leave, vacation leave and overtime pay; that the petitioners’ threatened then to accept the reduction of salaries, observed by other shipowners; that after the Minimum Wage Law had taken effect, the petitioners required their employees on board their vessels, to pay the sum of P0.40 for every meal, while the masters and officers were required to pay their meals and that because the captain had refused to yield to the general reduction of salaries, the petitioners dismissed the captain. The petitioner, on their defense, stated that they have suffered a financial losses in the operation of their vessels and there is no law which provides for the payment of sick leave or vacation leave to employees of private firms; that with regards to their overtime pay, they have always observed the Eight-hour labor Law and that overtime does not apply to those who provide means of transportation. The decision ruled in favor of the respondent union. Hence, this petition. 

Issue: Whether or not the required meals which the petitioner company deducted from the salary of the employees is considered as facilities, and not supplements. 

Held: Supplements constitute extra remuneration or special privileges or benefits given to or received by the laborers over and above their ordinary earnings or wages. Facilities, on the other hand, are items of expense necessary for the laborer’s and his family’s existence and subsistence so that by express provisions of law, they form part of the wage and when furnished by the employer are deductible therefrom, since if they are not so furnished, the laborer would spend and pay them just the same. It is argued that the food or meal given to the deck officers, marine engineers and unlicensed crew members in question, were mere facilities which should be deducted from wages, and not supplements which, according to Section 19 of the Minimum Wage Law, should not be deducted from such wages. It was found out that the meals were freely given to crew members prior to the effectivity of the Minimum Wage Law while they were on the high seas not as part of their wages but as a necessary matter in the maintenance of the health and efficiency of the crew members during the voyage. The deductions therein made for the meals given after August 4, 1951, should be returned to them, and the operator of the coastwise vessels should continue giving the benefits. Wherefore, the petition is dismissed, finding out that the meals or food in question are not facilities but supplements.
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