(Question XIV, Labor Law, 2017 Bar Exam)
Pursuant to his power under Sec. 278(g) (263(g)) of the Labor Code, the Secretary of Labor assumed jurisdiction over the 3-day old strike in Armor Steel Plates, Inc., one of the country’s bigger manufacturers of steel plates, and ordered all the striking employees to return to work. The striking employees ignored the order to return to work.
(a) What conditions may justify the Secretary of Labor to assume jurisdiction? (2.5%)
(b) What are the consequences of the assumption of jurisdiction by the Secretary of Labor, and of the disobedience to the return to work? Explain your answer. (2.5%)
(a) To justify the assumption of jurisdiction by the DOLE Secretary, the following conditions are required:
1) There exists a labor dispute; and
2) It is causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout in an industry indispensable to the national interest.
(b) These are the two (2) immediate effects of assumption of jurisdiction:
1) The enjoining of an impending strike or lockout or its lifting; and
2) An order for the workers to return to work immediately and for the employer to readmit all workers under the same terms and conditions prevailing before the strike or lockout, or the return-to-work order.
Disobedience of the return to work make the strike illegal. Any union officer who knowingly participates in an illegal strike may be declared to have lost his employment status. On the other hand, an ordinary striking worker or union member cannot, as a rule, be terminated for mere participation in an illegal strike; there must be proof that he committed illegal acts during the strike.
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
Lawyer, Author, Mentor