Caddies lose first round

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Monday, March 10, 2014


THE breakup is complete. After Vice President Jejomar Binay pulled out of the PDP-Laban partnership that he forged with former senator Nene Pimentel many years ago, the latter retaliated by resigning as chairman of the College of Governance and Public Safety of the University of Makati. The college is Binay’s brainchild.

Whether the disintegration of the Binay-Pimentel alliance will adversely affect the vice president’s chances in 2016 remains to be seen but the development is indicative of the politics of convenience that Binay and, for that matter, all but a few, Filipino politicians practice.

It all started when the three lords of the (UNA) ring (Erap Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Binay) decided to include Migz Zubiri in their senatorial lineup for the May 2013 elections. Nene’s son and namesake, Koko protested; he believed that Zubiri had robbed him of three years of his first term in the Senate and refused to share the stage with him.

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Pimentel may have counted on Binay to support him, given their time-tested alliance, and thus felt especially betrayed by the latter when all three UNA leaders insisted on Zubiri’s inclusion. Koko left the UNA and ran under the Liberal Party instead. The rest, as they say, is history.

***

The caddies of the Cebu Country Club (CCC) have lost the first round of their legal battle with the club.

In an order dated March 4, mediator-arbiter Jose B. Ogang of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) Region VII denied the petition for certification election filed by the Cebu Country Club Caddies Employees’ Union-ALU-TUCP. Copies of the order were
served on the parties and their lawyers only on March 7, however.

In its petition, the union claimed that it represented some 198 “regular caddies/employees” of the CCC and sought the Dole’s certification as the workers’ exclusive agent for purposes of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with the club.

CCC, through its lawyer Baldomero Estenzo, opposed the petition alleging, among others, the absence of employer-employee relationship” between the caddies and the establishment.

Ogang upheld the club’s view, declaring that “on the basis of the facts and evidences presented, this office cannot grant the petition for certification election due to the absence of employer-employee relationship between all the members of the petitioning union and the establishment where the proposed bargaining unit is sought to be represented.”

The decision may be painful to the union members but no one can say that it was unexpected because jurisprudence clearly favored CCC’s claim that the caddies are not their employees.

At the height of the union’s picket of the club’s premises, I wrote here about a case decided by the Supreme Court that had strikingly similar factual circumstances. In Manila Golf & Country Club (MGCC) versus Intermediate Appellate Court and Fermin Llamar, the High Tribunal agreed with MGCC that the club “has no means of compelling the presence of a caddy who is not required to render a definite number of hours of work on a single day” and who, after having rendered services to a player one day may still find sufficient time to work elsewhere.”

I am not saying that the union’s case is doomed. Ogang’s decision can be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. But the union may have a steep mountain to climb because of the MGCC decision.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 11, 2014.

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