Rights of capital vs. labor rights

Here is a discussion about the rights of capital (employers) and the rights of labor (workers). This is based on Azucena, C.A. (2013)'s outline in his book on labor standards. Please see citation below; his books are available in fine bookstore nationwide.

The Philippine Constitution, while inexorably committed towards the protection of the working class from exploitation and unfair treatment, nevertheless mandates the policy of social justice so as to strike a balance between an avowed predilection for labor, on the one hand, and the maintenance of the legal rights of capital, the proverbial hen that lays the golden egg, on the other. Indeed, we should not be unmindful of the legal norm that justice is in every case for the deserving, to be dispensed with in the light of established facts, the applicable law, and existing jurisprudence. xxx No doubt, private respondent was accorded due process. No less than seven (7) memoranda were issued to private respondent urging her to follow the directive of management transferring her to the Urdaneta Branch coupled with a generous offer by the petitioner to pay or reimburse her for the actual cost of transportation that she may incur as a result of the new assignment.36 Unfortunately, private respondent stubbornly chose to turn a deaf ear to these notices. Ultimately, she has no one to blame but herself. The law, in protecting the rights of the laborer, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer. (G.R. No. 97067. September 26, 1996)

Azucena, C. A. (2013), in his popular books on labor standards, emphasizes that the Constitution has not overlooked the rights of capital. The fundamental law, in Article II, says: "The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments." Moreover, the State has the constitutional duty to regulate the relations between workers and employers.

While workers are entitled to their just share in the fruits of their production, employers are treated as equally important and given rights as well. These rights are not only to reasonable returns on investment but also to expansion and growth.

Constitution, Art. 13, Sec. 3:

The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized and unorganized, and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all.

It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law. They shall be entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage. They shall also participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law.

The State shall promote the principle of shared responsibility between workers and employers and the preferential use of voluntary modes in settling disputes, including conciliation, and shall enforce their mutual compliance therewith to foster industrial peace.
The State shall regulate the relations between workers and employers, recognizing the right of labor to its just share in the fruits of production and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investments, and to expansion and growth.

Azucena, C. A. (2013) also explains that neither the Constitution nor the Labor Code of the Philippines (PD 442) defines private enterprise. He said that, luckily, R.A. No. 7796 (Section 4 of the TESDA Law) now defines private enterprises as an economic system under which property of all kinds can be privately owned and in which individuals, alone or in association with another, can embark on a business activity. This includes industrial, agricultural, or agro-industrial establishments engaged in the production, manufacturing, processing, repacking or assembly of goods, including service-oriented enterprises.

Azucena, C.A. (2013) asks the following question in his famous book: Because one (the private sector, referring to employers) is indispensable and the other (labor as an economic force, referring to workers) is "primary," how can it be said that one is more important, or deserves greater protection, than the other?

The Supreme Court has promulgated a decision that can aptly be used to answer Azucena's inquiry. In Agabon v. NLRC, it was held: Justice in every case should only be for the deserving party. It should not be presumed that every case of illegal dismissal would automatically be decided in favor of labor, as management has rights that should be fully respected and enforced by this Court. As interdependent and indispensable partners in nation-building, labor and management need each other to foster productivity and economic growth; hence, the need to weigh and balance the rights and welfare of both the employee and employer. (G.R. No. 158693. November 17, 2004)

Justice Isagani Cruz strongly asserts the need to apply a balanced approach to labor-management relations and dispense justice with an even hand in every case: We have repeatedly stressed that social justice – or any justice for that matter – is for the deserving, whether he be a millionaire in his mansion or a pauper in his hovel. It is true that, in case of reasonable doubt, we are to tilt the balance in favor of the poor to whom the Constitution fittingly extends its sympathy and compassion. But never is it justified to give preference to the poor simply because they are poor, or reject the rich simply because they are rich, for justice must always be served for the poor and the rich alike, according to the mandate of the law. (G.R. No. 158693. November 17, 2004)

SOURCE: Azucena, C. A. (2013). The Labor Code: with Comments and Cases (Vol. 1). National Book Store. https://www.rexestore.com/labor-standards/981-the-labor-code-with-comments-and-cases-volume-i-revised-edition.html