American President Lines vs Clave

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AMERICAN PRESIDENT LINES,
Petitioner,
-versus- G.R. No. L-51641
June 29, 1982
CLAVE,.... MARITIME SECURITY UNION, etc
Respondents.
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FACTS:
Petitioner (APL) entered into a contact with the Marine Security Agency for the latter to guard and protect the petitioner’s vessels while moored at the port of Manila. The contract was valid for one year from date of its execution (Jan 4, 1960). The guards were not known to APL and were paid by Petitioner handing a lump sum to the Agency whom the latter pays the guards.

Upon expiration of the term, APL executed a new contract with the Philippine Scout Veterans Security and Investigation Agency for one year.

Several individual complaints were filed against APL for unfair labor practice due to the termination of the contract. The counsel for the respondent alleged that the said termination was due to APL’s Captain Morris and the operator (Tinsay) of the Marine Security Agency.

Arbiter Lomabao found the petitioner guilty of ULP. Thus, sentencing the petitioner to reinstate the complainants and payment of three years backwages. NLRC likewise affirmed the Arbiter’s decision except to those of the retired age whom shall be given separation pay in addition to their backwages for three years.

Minister of Labor also affirms the NLRC’s decision. APL appealed to the Office of the President which was also affirmed.

ISSUE: Was there Employer-Employee Relationship between the petitioners and individual watchmen of the MSA who are alleged to be members of the Respondent Union.

HELD: NO. E-E exist when: (1) the selection and engagement of the employee; (2) the payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the power to control the employee’s conduct — although the latter is the most important element.

It is the agency that recruits, hires, and assigns the work of its watchmen. Hence, a watchman can not perform any security service for the petitioner’s vessels unless the agency first accepts him as its watchman. With respect to his wages, the amount to be paid to a security guard is beyond the power of the petitioner to determine. Certainly, the lump sum amount paid by APL to the agency in consideration of the latter’s service is more than the wages of any one watchman. In point of fact, it is the agency that quantifies and pays the wages to which is entitled.

Neither does the petitioner have any power to dismiss the security guards. In fact, We fail to see any evidence in the record that it wielded such a power. It is true that it may request the agency to change a particular guard. But this, precisely, is proof that the power lies in the hands of the agency. Since the petitioner has to deal with the agency, and not the individual watchmen, on matters pertaining to the contracted task, it stands to reason that the petitioner does not exercise any power over the watchmen’s conduct. Always, the agency stands between the petitioner and the watchmen; and it is the agency that is answerable to the petitioner for the conduct of its guards.

Another reason to militate against finding of E-E relationship is the contract between APL and MSA has expired and wherein APL engaged on a new contract with another agency, To hold complaining members of MSA as employees of APL would violate APL’s exclusive prerogative to determine whether it should enter in into a security service contract or not. *NOTE* Under Republic Act 875, Section 13, an unfair labor practice may be committed only within the context of an employer-employee relationship.

Decision reversed. No finding of ULP.

G.R. No. 74841 December 20, 1991
ASSOCIATED LABOR UNIONS-VIMCONTU, THE CEBU OIL EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, represented by its Acting President, MIGUEL C. ALIVIADO, and THE MOBIL DAVAO/ COTABATO CHAPTER-ALU, represented by its President, DAVID C. ONDEVILLA, petitioners, vs.

THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (NLRC),...
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