CASE NO. 5 OF 50
JACKBILT INDUSTRIES, INC., Petitioner,
JACKBILT EMPLOYEES WORKERS UNION-NAFLU-KMU, Respondent.
Petitioner Jackbilt Industries, Inc. temporarily stop its business because of the adverse effect of Asian economic crisis, and compelled most of its employees to go on leave for six months.
Because its collective bargaining agreement with petitioner was expiring during the period of the shutdown, respondent Jackbilt Employees Workers Union-NAFLU-KMU protested the temporary shutdown and its officers and members picketed petitioner’s main gates and deliberately prevented persons and vehicles from going into and out of the compound.
Upon petition by the petitioner, NLRC issued a temporary restraining order directing the respondents to refrain from preventing access to petitioner’s property, however, respondent union violated the order. Thus, petitioner dismissed the concerned officers and members and barred them from entering its premises.
Respondent then filed complaints for illegal lockout, runaway shop and damages, unfair labor practice, illegal dismissal and attorney’s fees, and refusal to bargain on behalf of its officers and members against petitioner and its corporate officers.
In a decision, the labor arbiter dismissed the complaints for illegal lockout and unfair labor practice for lack of merit. However, because petitioner did not file a petition to declare the strike illegal before terminating respondent’s officers and employees, it was found guilty of illegal dismissal.
Petitioner then assailed the decision of the NLRC before the Court of Appeals, whereby, the appellate court dismissed the petition but modified the decision of the NLRC.
Petitioner was therefore guilty of unfair labor practice and, consequently, was ordered to pay respondent’s officers and employees backwages.
Thus, this recourse.
Whether or not the filing of a petition with the labor arbiter to declare a strike illegal is a condition sine qua non for the valid termination of employees who commit an illegal act in the course of such strike.
The Court finds merit with the assertion of the Petitioner that the filing of a petition to declare the strike illegal was unnecessary since the NLRC had already found that respondent committed illegal acts in the course of the strike.
The use of unlawful means in the course of a strike renders such strike illegal. The filing of a petition to declare the strike illegal was thus unnecessary.
Consequently, the Court also uphold the legality of the dismissal of respondent’s officers and employees.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted. The decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.