Standard Chartered Bank Employees Union NUBE v. Confesor

G.R. No. 114974 : June 16, 2004

FACTS:

Standard Chartered Bank (the Bank, for brevity) is a foreign banking corporation doing business in the Philippines. The Bank and the Union signed a five-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Prior to the expiration of the 3 year period, the Union initiates negotiation. Divinagracia, president of the Union submitted proposals, then the Bank sent counterproposals. The parties agreed to set meetings to settle their differences on the proposed CBA. Divinagracia, suggested that the bank lawyers should be excluded from the negotiating team. The Bank acceded but suggested to Divinagracia that Jose P. Umali, Jr., the President of the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE), the federation to which the Union was affiliated, be excluded from the Union’s negotiating panel. However, Umali was retained as a member thereof.

Except for the provisions on signing bonus and uniforms, the Union and the Bank failed to agree on the remaining economic provisions of the CBA.

The Union declared a deadlock and filed a Notice of Strike before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB)

the Bank filed a complaint for Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) and Damages with NLRC. The Bank alleged that the Union violated its duty to bargain, as it did not bargain in good faith. It contended that the Union demanded “sky high economic demands,” indicative of blue-sky bargaining. the Union violated its no strike-no lockout clause by filing a notice of strike before the NCMB. Considering that the filing of notice of strike was an illegal act, the Union officers should be dismissed.

Secretary of Labor and Employment (SOLE) pursuant to Article 263(g) of the Labor Code, issued an Order assuming jurisdiction over the labor dispute at the Bank. The SOLE dimissed the chargesof ULP of both the Unoion and the Bank, explaining that both parties failed to substantiate their claims.

ISSUE:

WON the Union was able to substantiate its claim of unfair labor practice against the Bank arising from the latter’s alleged “interference” with its choice of negotiator; surface bargaining; making bad faith non-economic proposals; and refusal to furnish the Union with copies of the relevant data;

HELD:

NO. Under the International Labor Organization Convention (ILO) No. 87 FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION AND PROTECTION OF THE RIGHT TO ORGANIZE to which the Philippines is a signatory, workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organization concerned, to job organizations of their own choosing without previous authorization. Workers and employers organizations shall have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom to organize their administration and activities and to formulate their programs. The aforcited ILO Conventions are incorporated in our Labor Code, particularly in Art. 243 and arts. 248 and 249 respecting ULP of employers and labor organizations.

Article 248(a) of the Labor Code, considers it an unfair labor practice when an employer interferes, restrains or coerces employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization or the right to form association.The right to self-organization necessarily includes the right to collective bargaining.In order to show that the employer committed ULP under the Labor Code, substantial evidence is required to support the claim.Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. In the case at bar, the Union bases its claim of interference on the alleged suggestions of Diokno to exclude Umali from the Unions negotiating panel.

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