CA sides with casino workers in labor case

The Court of Appeals (CA) has dismissed a petition filed by a casino operator against its workers’ union over a dispute on the coverage of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

In a seven-page resolution written by Associate Justice Myra V. Garcia Fernandez dated December 28 and recently published online, the appellate court’s Eleventh division said it “finds no reason to deviate from the findings” of the labor arbiter which had ruled against Melco Resorts Leisure (Phils.) Corp. which operates the City of Dreams Manila resort and casino.

On March 10, 2021, Labor Arbiter Renato Q. Bello ordered the company to grant the respective benefits due to its affected employees represented by the Kilusan ng Manggagawang Makabayan (KMM-Katipunan).

The workers’ group had initiated the labor complaint for non-payment of CBA benefits claiming that some employees were not given benefits due to them under the CBA.

The excluded workers were those promoted on January 29, 2020, those who have retired on February 1, 2020, and those who paid their gaming employment licenses, city health permits, and police clearances in January 2020.

The company claimed that the CBA should be considered signed and executed only on February 12, 2020, and that prior to the said date, the excluded workers had no vested rights.

The workers’ group had submitted its proposed CBA on April 24, 2019, and the company and the workers’ group concluded and signed the CBA on January 22, 2020.

Representative and authorized signatories of the company’s chief operating officer Kevin Benning met with the workers’ representatives on February 12, 2020 to sign the CBA.

The CA upheld the labor arbiter’s decision that while the CBA was signed and executed in 2020, the intention of the parties was to provide a retroactive effect to its provisions and that determining who are the employees entitled to its benefits should be reckoned from July 1, 2019, the date of the effectivity of the CBA. The company then took the case to the CA.

In ruling against the company, the appellate court said the latter “failed to establish a clear and unmistakable right for the issuance of a writ” to stop the arbiter adding that such a writ can “be granted only in the face of actual and existing substantial rights”.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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