(Question B.11, Labor Law, 2019 Bar Exam)
Briefly discuss the powers and responsibilities of the following in the scheme of the Labor Code:
(a) Secretary of Labor (2%)
(b) Bureau of Labor Relations (2%)
(c) Voluntary Arbitrators (2%)
(a) The Secretary of Labor has:
1) Visitorial and enforcement powers – including but not limited to, access to employer’s records and premises at any time of the day or night whenever work is being undertaken therein; to copy therefrom; to question any employee; to investigate any fact, condition or matter which may be necessary to determine violations or which may aid in the enforcement of this Code and of any labor law, wage order or rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto; to issue compliance orders to give effect to the labor standards provisions of this Code and other labor legislation based on the findings of labor employment and enforcement officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection: Provided, employer-employee relationship still exists; among others.
2) Assumption of jurisdiction – When, in his opinion, there exists a labor dispute causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout in an industry indispensable to the national interest, the DOLE Secretary may assume jurisdiction over the dispute and decide it or certify the same to the NLRC for compulsory arbitration.
3) Appellate jurisdiction – over the following cases: 1) Labor standards cases, including occupational safety and health standards, from the decision of the DOLE Regional Director; Orders of the DOLE Regional Director; Union registration or cancellation cases, from the decision of the Bureau of Labor Relations; and Certification election cases from decision of the Med-Arbiter.
(b) The Bureau of Labor Relations has original and exclusive authority to act, at their own initiative or upon request of either or both parties on:
1) All inter-union and intra-union conflicts, and
2) All disputes, grievances or problems arising from or affecting labor-management relations in all workplaces, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, except those arising from the implementation or interpretation of collective bargaining agreements which shall be the subject of grievance procedure and/or voluntary arbitration.
The BLR has appellate jurisdiction over:
(1) All cases originating from the Regional Director involving union registration or cancellation of certificates of union registration and complaints for examination of union books of accounts.
(c) Voluntary Arbitrators have the power and responsibility to hear and decide the following cases:
1) Those arising from the implementation or interpretation of the CBA;
2) Those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies which remain unresolved after exhaustion of the grievance procedure; and,
3) All other Labor Disputes submitted by the parties upon agreement.
(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.)
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