Strikes, walkouts & temporary work stoppages in government service

It is the settled rule in this jurisdiction that employees in the public service may not engage in strikes. While the Constitution recognizes the right of government employees to organize, they are prohibited from staging strikes, demonstrations, mass leaves, walk-outs and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public services. The right of government employees to organize is limited only to the formation of unions or associations, without including the right to strike. The ability to strike is not essential to the right of association. In the absence of statute, public employees do not have the right to engage in concerted work stoppages for any purpose. As a general rule, even in the absence of express statutory prohibition like Memorandum Circular No. 6, public employees are denied the right to strike or engage in a work stoppage against a public employer. The right of the sovereign to prohibit strikes or work stoppages by public employees was clearly recognized at common law. Indeed, it is frequently declared that modern rules which prohibit such strikes, either by statute or by judicial decision, simply incorporate or reassert the common law rule. To grant employees of the public sector the right to strike, there must be a clear and direct legislative authority therefore. In the absence of any express legislation allowing government employees to strike, recognizing their right to do so, or regulating the exercise of the right, employees in the public service may not engage in strikes, walkouts and temporary work stoppages like workers in the private sector. (G.R. No. 124678; July 31, 1997)