Labor Law

Standard Chartered Bank Employees Union (SCBEU-NUBE) vs Standard Chartered Bank

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G.R. No. 161933 – 575 Phil. 306 – 552 SCRA 284 – Labor Law – Labor Standards – Confidential Employees – Exclusion as Appropriate Bargaining Unit

The 1998-2000 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Standard Chartered Bank employees Union and the Standard Chartered Bank expired so the parties tried to renew it but then a deadlock ensued. Under the old CBA, the following are excluded as appropriate bargaining unit:

A. All covenanted and assistant officers (now called National Officers)

B. One confidential secretary of each of the:

1. Chief Executive, Philippine Branches

2. Deputy Chief Executive/Head, Corporate Banking Group

3. Head, Finance

4. Head, Human Resources

5. Manager, Cebu

6. Manager, Iloilo

7. Covenanted Officers provided said positions shall be filled by new recruits.

C. The Chief Cashiers and Assistant Cashiers in Manila, Cebu and Iloilo, and in any other branch that the BANK may establish in the country.

D. Personnel of the Telex Department

E. All Security Guards

F. Probationary employees, without prejudice to Article 277 (c) of the Labor Code, as amended by R.A. 6715, casuals or emergency employees; and

G. One (1) HR Staff

But then in the renewal sought by SCBEU-NUBE, they only wanted the exclusion to apply only to the following employees from the appropriate bargaining unit, all managers who are vested with the right to hire and fire employees, confidential employees, those with access to labor relations materials, Chief Cashiers, Assistant Cashiers, personnel of the Telex Department and one Human Resources (HR) staff.

SCBEU-NUBE also averred that employees assigned in an acting capacity for at least a week should be given salary raise.

A notice of strike was given to the Department of Labor due to this deadlock. Then DOLE Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas issued an order dismissing the Union’s plea.

ISSUE: Whether or not the confidential employees sought to be removed from the exclusion as appropriate bargaining unit by SCBEU-NUBE holds ground.

HELD: No. Whether or not the employees sought to be excluded from the appropriate bargaining unit are confidential employees is a question of fact, which is not a proper issue in a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. SCBEU-NUBE insists that the foregoing employees are not confidential employees; however, it failed to buttress its claim. Aside from its generalized arguments, and despite the Secretary’s finding that there was no evidence to support it, SCBEU-NUBE still failed to substantiate its claim. SCBEU-NUBE did not even bother to state the nature of the duties and functions of these employees, depriving the Court of any basis on which it may be concluded that they are indeed confidential employees.

With regards to the salary increase of employees in acting capacities, the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals that a restrictive provision would curtail management’s prerogative, and at the same time, recognized that employees should not be made to work in an acting capacity for long periods of time without adequate compensation. The usual rule that “employees in acting capacities for at least a month should be given salary raise” is upheld.

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