Standard chartered Bank Employees Union (NUBE) vs Secretary Nieves Confesor and Standard Chartered Bank

Standard chartered Bank Employees Union (NUBE) vs Secretary Nieves Confesor and Standard Chartered Bank
GR No. 11497
June 16 2004

DOCTRINE: Surface bargaining is defined as "going through the motions of negotiating" without any legal intent to reach an agreement.


Before the commencement of the negotiation for the new CBA between the bank and the Union, the Union, through Divinagracia, suggested to the Bank’s Human Resource Manager and head of the negotiating panel, Cielito Diokno, that the bank lawyers should be excluded from the negotiating team. The Bank acceded. Meanwhile, Diokno (head of the negotiating team for the bank) 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.

There was deadlock in the negotiations. Both parties alleged ULP. Bank alleged that 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. Union alleged unfair labor practice when the bank allegedly interfered with the Union’s choice of negotiator. It argued that, Diokno’s suggestion that the negotiation be limited as a “family affair” was tantamount to suggesting that Federation President Jose Umali, Jr. be excluded from the Union’s negotiating panel. It further argued that, damage or injury to the public interest need not be present in order for unfair labor practice to prosper.

The Union also contended that the Bank merely went through the motions of collective bargaining without the intent to reach an agreement


Whether or not the bank committed “Surface Bargaining”


NO. The minutes of meetings from March 12, 1993 to June 15, 1993 do not show that the Bank had any intention of violating its duty to bargain with the Union. Records show that after the Union sent its proposal to the Bank on February 17, 1993, the latter replied with a list of its counter-proposals on February 24, 1993. Thereafter, meetings were set for the settlement of their differences. The minutes of the meetings show that both the Bank and the Union exchanged economic and non-economic proposals and counter-proposals.

The Union has not been able to show that the Bank had done acts, both at and away from the bargaining table, which tend to show that it did not want to reach an agreement with the Union or to settle the differences between it and the Union. Admittedly, the parties were not able to agree and reached a deadlock. However, it is herein emphasized that the duty to bargain “does not compel either party to agree to a proposal or require the making of a concession.” Hence, the parties’ failure to agree did not amount to ULP under Article 248(g) for violation of the duty to bargain.

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