Principle of Shared Jurisdiction in Labor Relations

The Secretary was explicitly granted by Article 263(g) of the Labor Code the authority to assume jurisdiction over a labor dispute causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout in an industry indispensable to the national interest, and decide the same accordingly. Necessarily, this authority to assume jurisdiction over the said labor dispute must include and extend to all questions and controversies arising therefrom, including cases over which the labor arbiter has exclusive jurisdiction.
Plainly, Article 263(g) of the Labor Code was meant to make both the Secretary (or the various regional directors) and the labor arbiters share jurisdiction, subject to certain conditions. Otherwise, the Secretary would not be able to effectively and efficiently dispose of the primary dispute. To hold the contrary may even lead to the absurd and undesirable result wherein the Secretary and labor arbiter concerned may have diametrically opposed rulings. (G.R. No. 92981-83, January 9, 1992)

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