San Miguel Corp. vs. NLRC

 San Miguel Corp. vs. NLRC

G.R. No. 99266

March 2, 1999

DOCTRINE: The main purpose of the parties in adopting a procedure in the settlement of their disputes is to prevent a strike. This procedure must be followed in its entirety if it is to achieve its objective . . . strikes held in violation of the terms contained in the collective bargaining agreement are illegal, specially when they provide for conclusive arbitration clauses. These agreements must be strictly adhered to and respected if their ends have to be achieved. 


SMC shut down some of its plants and declared 55 positions as redundant because of its alleged need to streamline its operations due to financial losses.  While the grievance proceedings pursuant to the 1990 CBA were being conducted, most employees were redeployed, while others accepted early retirement. As a result, only 17 employees remained when the parties proceeded to the third level of the grievance procedure. SMC informed SMCEU that if by October 30, 1990, the remaining 17 employees could not yet be redeployed, their services would be terminated on November 2, 1990. The said meeting adjourned when Mr. Daniel S. L. Borbon II, a representative of the SMCEU, declared that there was nothing more to discuss in view of the deadlock. SMCEU filed with the NCMB a notice of strike. SMC filed a complaint, seeking to dismiss the notice of strike given by SMCEU and to compel it to comply with the provisions of the CBA on grievance machinery, arbitration, and the no-strike clause, but was dismissed by the NLRC.

Whether or not there is a bargaining deadlock which warranted the filing of the notice of strike.

NO. Collective Bargaining Deadlock is defined as "the situation between the labor and the management of the company where there is failure in the collective bargaining negotiations resulting in a stalemate". This situation is non-existent in the present case since there is a Board assigned on the third level (Step 3) of the grievance machinery to resolve the conflicting views of the parties. Instead of asking the Conciliation Board composed of five representatives each from the company and the union, to decide the conflict, petitioner declared a deadlock, and thereafter, filed a notice of strike. For failing to exhaust all the steps in the grievance machinery and arbitration proceedings provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the notice of strike should have been dismissed by the NLRC and private respondent union ordered to proceed with the grievance and arbitration proceedings.

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