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Labor Laws | Right to Strike

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LABOR LAWS; FILIPINO SEAMEN ADMITTEDLY COMPETENT AND RELIABLE. - Filipino seamen are admittedly as competent and reliable as seamen from any other country in the world. Otherwise, there would not be so many of them in the vessels sailing in every ocean and sea on this globe. It is competence and reliability, not cheap labor that makes our seamen so greatly in demand. Filipino seamen have never demanded the same high salaries as seamen from the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and other developed nations. But certainly they are entitled to government protection when they ask for fair and decent treatment by their employers and when they exercise the right to petition for improved terms of employment, especially when they feel that these are sub-standard or are capable of improvement according to internationally accepted rules. In the domestic scene, there are marginal employers who prepare two sets of payrolls for their employees - one in keeping with minimum wages and the other recording the sub-standard wages that the employees really receive. The reliable employers, however, not only meet the minimums required by fair labor standards legislation but even go way above the minimums while earning reasonable profits and prospering. The same is true of international employment. There is no reason why this Court and the Ministry of Labor and Employment or its agencies and commissions should come out with pronouncements based on the standards and practices of unscrupulous or inefficient shipowners, who claim they cannot survive without resorting to tricky and deceptive schemes, instead of Government maintaining labor law and jurisprudence according to the practices of honorable, competent, and law-abiding employers, domestic or foreign. (Vir-Jen Shipping and Marine Services, Inc., versus National Labor Relations Commission, et al., G.R. Nos. L-58011 & L-58012, November 18, 1983.)

LABOR LAWS; RIGHT TO STRIKE. - Thus, although rejecting that PNOC and its subsidiaries were guilty of discrimination, the NLRC reiterated the policy enunciated in several labor cases "that a strike does not automatically carry stigma of illegality even if no unfair labor practice were committed by the employer. It suffices if such a belief in good faith is entertained by labor as the inducing factor for staging a strike. Indeed, the presumption of legality prevails even if the allegation of unfair labor practice is subsequently found to be untrue, provided that the union and its members believed in good faith in the truth of such averment. (PNOC Dockyard and Engineering Corporation versus The Honorable National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 118223, June 26, 1998.)