CA sides with the casino employees in the labor process

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MANILA – The Court of Appeal (CA) has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a casino operator against its workers’ union over a dispute over the validity of its Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

In a seven-page resolution authored by Associate Justice Myra V. Garcia Fernandez on Dec. 28 and recently published online, the Eleventh Circuit of the Circuit Court of Appeals said it “finds no reason to depart from the findings” of the labor arbitrator who ruled against Melco Resorts Leisure (Phils.) Corp., which operates the City of Dreams Manila Resort and Casino.

On March 10, 2021, labor arbitrator Renato Q. Bello ordered the company to award the relevant benefits to its affected employees, represented by Kilusan ng Manggagawang Makabayan (KMM-Katipunan).

The Workers’ Group initiated the Labor Complaint for Non-Payment of CBA Benefits, alleging that some workers were not provided with the benefits to which they were entitled under the CBA.

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

The company claimed that the collective agreement was not to be considered signed and executed until February 12, 2020 and that the excluded workers had no vested rights prior to that date.

The Workers’ Group submitted its CBA proposal on April 24, 2019, and the Company and the Workers’ Group completed and signed the CBA on January 22, 2020.

Representatives and authorized officers of the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Benning, met with the employee representatives on February 12, 2020 to sign the collective agreement.

The CA upheld the labor arbitrator’s decision that, although the collective agreement was signed and executed in 2020, the parties’ intention was to apply its provisions retrospectively, and that the determination of workers entitled to its benefits began as of July 1, 2019, should be the effective date of the CBA. The company then brought the case before the competent authority.

In its ruling against the company, the Court of Appeals said the latter had “failed to establish a clear and unequivocal right to an injunction” to prevent the arbitrator from adding that such an injunction “can only be granted in light of actual and existing material rights”. . (PNA)

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