August 31 2017
The Fifth Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), junking for lack of merit the illegal dismissal and union-busting case filed by petitioners, six (6) former employees of Scenarios, Inc. (Scenarios), against GMA Network, Inc. (GMA) and Scenarios.
In the decision penned by Associate Justice Magdangal M. De Leon dated July 31, 2017, the CA sustained NLRC’s ruling and stated that “As a management prerogative, the closure of an establishment is ordinarily not interfered with by the State” and “As long as the company’s exercise of the same is in good faith and not for the purpose of circumventing the rights of employees under the law or a valid agreement, such exercise will be upheld.” Associate Justice Magdangal found that the six former employees do not dispute Scenarios’ compliance with the requirements for a valid cessation of business operations wherein they were given Notices of Termination one month before closing shop.
Scenarios, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GMA, ceased its operations in 2012.
In the same decision, the CA discussed that it found no proof that Scenarios and GMA had the intention of “impairing the petitioners’ right to unionize” and the fact that Scenarios and Script 2010, Inc. (Script) ultimately belong to GMA does not, for that reason, negate the good faith character of Scenarios’ closure.
The petitioners alleged that they were illegally dismissed and that during the organization of Scenarios Inc. Employees Union (SIEU), GMA committed unfair labor practice through union-busting by purposely forming two new subsidiaries—Script and Inter-Services Multipurpose Cooperative (Interserve)—to duplicate the services and eventually replace Scenarios.
However, the CA affirmed the finding of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC that Scenarios suffered serious financial reverses that warranted the cessation of its operations and that aside from mere allegations that GMA controlled its subsidiaries to defeat the petitioners’ right to self-organization, petitioners did not present an iota of evidence to back up such accusation.