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G.R. No.

162783 July 14, 2005 striking workers to return to work except those who were terminated
PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CO. INC., petitioner, vs. due to redundancy.
OF APPEALS, respondents. ISSUE: Whether the Orders of the DOLE Secretary excluding from the
Chico-Nazario, J. Return-to-Work Order the workers dismissed due to the redundancy
Topic: Arbitration Process Initiation Certification of Dispute and program are valid. NO.
Secretary DOLE
RATIO: When the Secretary exercises the powers granted by Art.
FACTS: Respondent MKP is a labor union of rank and file employees in 263(g)4, he is, indeed, granted great breadth of discretion. However, the
PLDT. Its members learned that a redundancy program would be application of this power is not without limitation.
implemented by PLDT. It filed a Notice of Strike with the NCMB on the
ground of ULP1. 7 days later, MKP filed another Notice of Strike on the As Art. 263(g) is clear and unequivocal in stating that ALL striking or
ground of ULP.2 locked out employees shall immediately return to work, and the
employer shall immediately resume operations and readmit ALL
A number of conciliation meetings conducted by NCMB proved futile. workers under the same terms and conditions prevailing before the
MKP then staged a strike. 383 union members were terminated from strike or lockout, then the mandate must be followed by the Secretary.
service pursuant to PLDTs redundancy program. The DOLE Secretary
then issued a Return-to-work Order, finding that PLDTs operations is Assumption of jurisdiction over a labor dispute, or the certification
impressed with public and national interest3. The Secretary ordered all of the same to the NLRC for compulsory arbitration, always co-exists
with an order for workers to return to work immediately and for
1. PLDTs abolition of the Provisioning Support Division, together with the redundancy of PSD employers to readmit all workers under the same terms and
employees and the farming out of the jobs to casuals and contractuals, violates the duty to bargain
collectively with MKP in good faith. conditions prevailing before the strike or lockout. (Trans-Asia
2. PLDTs unreasonable refusal to honor its commitment that it will provide MKP its comprehensive Shipping v. CA)
plan/s with respect to personnel downsizing/reorganization and closure of exchanges violates its
duty to bargain collectively with MKP in good faith.
3. PLDTs continued hiring of contractual, temporary, project and casual employees for The strike occurred on Dec. 23, 2002. Art. 263(G) directs that the
regular jobs performed by union members, resulting in the decimation of the union membership employer must readmit all workers under the same terms and
and in the denial of the right to self-organization to the concerned employees.
4. PLDTs gross violation of the legal and CBA provisions on overtime work and compensation.
companies dependent upon the continuous operations of PLDT to the detriment of the public.
5. PLDTs gross violation of the CBA provisions on promotions and job grade re-evaluation or
Undoubtedly, PLDTs operations is impressed with public and national interest as
communication plays a vital role in furtherance of trade, commerce, and industry specially at this
time of globalized economy where information is vital to economic survival. Work stoppage at PLDT
PLDTs alleged restructuring of its GMM Operation Services and its closure of traffic operations at will also adversely effect the ordinary day-to-day life of the public in areas of its franchise.
the Batangas, Calamba, Davao, Iloilo, Lucena, Malolos and Tarlac Regional Operator Services. These Communication is also a component of state security.
unjustly imperil the job security of 503 of MKPs members and will substantially decimate the xxx
parties bargaining unit. And in the light of PLDTs previous commitment that it will provide MKP its These considerations have in the past guided this Office in consistently exercising its
comprehensive plan/s with respect to personnel downsizing/reorganization and closure of powers under Article 263(g) of the Labor Code, as amended, in handling labor disputes involving the
exchanges and of its more recent declaration that the Davao operator services will not be closed, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and other telecommunications companies.
these moves are treacherous and are thus violative of PLDTs duty to bargain collectively with MKP 4
Art 263. Strikes, picketing, and lockouts. x x x
in good faith. These moves were effected with PLDT paying only lip service to its duties under Art.
(g) When in his opinion, there exists a labor dispute causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout in
Iii, Section 9 of the parties CBA signifies PLDTs gross violation of said CBA.
an industry indispensable to the national interest, the Secretary of Labor and Employment may
assume jurisdiction over the dispute and decide it or certify the same to the Commission for
PLDT is the largest telecommunications entity in the Philippines whose operations are closely compulsory arbitration. Such assumption or certification shall have the effect of automatically
linked with the countrys other telecommunication companies. It operates the countrys enjoining the intended or impending strike or lockout as specified in the assumption or certification
international gateway system through which overseas telecommunications are made. Its operations order. If one has already taken place at the time of assumption or certification, all striking or locked
are also vital to the services of cellular phone companies. The Company employs more or less 13,000 out employees shall immediately return to work and the employer shall immediately resume
employees, about 7,000 of whom are members of the union. A work stoppage at PLDT, without operations and readmit all workers under the same terms and conditions prevailing before the
doubt, will adversely affect the smooth operations of PLDT as well as those other telecommunication strike or lockout.
conditions prevailing before the strike, hence, the condition present on
Dec. 22 must be maintained. On the latter date, the members of MKP who
were dismissed due to alleged redundancy were still employed by PLDT
and holding their respective positions. This is the status quo that must be