ISSUE: whether or not the Regional Trial Court can enjoin the Social Security System Employees Association (SSSEA) from striking and order the striking employees to return to work. Collaterally, it is whether or not employees of the Social Security System (SSS)
FACTS: On June 11, 1987, the SSS filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a complaint for damages with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction against petitioners, alleging that on June 9, 1987, the officers and members of SSSEA staged an illegal strike and baricaded the entrances to the SSS Building, preventing non-striking employees from reporting for work and SSS members from transacting business with the SSS; that the strike was reported to the Public Sector Labor - Management Council, which ordered the strikers to return to work; that the strikers refused to return to work; and that the SSS suffered damages as a result of the strike. The complaint prayed that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued to enjoin the strike and that the strikers be ordered to return to work; that the defendants (petitioners herein) be ordered to pay damages; and that the strike be declared illegal. It appears that the SSSEA went on strike after the SSS failed to act on the union's demands, which included: implementation of the provisions of the old SSS-SSSEA collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on check-off of union dues; payment of accrued overtime pay, night differential pay and holiday pay; conversion of temporary or contractual employees with six (6) months or more of service into regular and permanent employees and their entitlement to the same salaries, allowances and benefits given to other regular employees of the SSS; and payment of the children's allowance of P30.00, and after the SSS deducted certain amounts from the salaries of the employees and allegedly committed acts of discrimination and unfair labor practices
RATIO DECIDENDI: The court ruled that Government employees may, therefore, through their unions or associations, either petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of employment which are within the ambit of legislation or negotiate with the appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those which are not fixed by law. If there be any unresolved grievances, the dispute may be referred to the Public Sector Labor - Management Council for appropriate action. But employees in the civil service may not resort to strikes, walk-outs and other temporary work stoppages, like workers in the private sector, to pressure the Govemment to accede to their demands. As now provided under Sec. 4, Rule III of the Rules and Regulations to Govern the Exercise of the Right of Government- Employees to Self- Organization, which took effect after the instant dispute arose, "[t]he terms and conditions of employment in the government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and government- owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes thereof."