Lockout by the employer

1. Concepts

Lockout – refers to the temporary refusal of an employer to furnish work as a result of a labor or industrial dispute. (No. 20, Rule III, 2017 Revised NCMB Manual of Procedures for Conciliation and Prevention Mediation Cases)

Lockout vote – refers to the majority vote of the members of the Board of Directors/Trustees of the corporation or association or of the partners in a partnership obtained by secret ballot in a meeting called for that purpose. (No. 21, Ibid.)

Notice of lockout – refers to the notification filed by a registered labor union with the appropriate Regional Branch informing the latter of its intention to go on strike due to alleged commission by the employer of unfair labor practice act/s or a deadlock in collective bargaining negotiations. (No. 26, Ibid.)

2. Grounds for lockout

Grounds for lockout:
1) Bargaining deadlocks;
2) Unfair labor practices; and
3) Violations of collective bargaining agreements, except flagrant and/or malicious refusal to comply with its economic provisions. (Section 1, Rule XIII, Book V, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code)

3. Mandatory procedural requirements

a. Who may declare a lockout

The employer may declare a lockout in the same cases. (Section 2, Rule XIII, Ibid.)

b. Notice of lockout

In cases of bargaining deadlocks, a notice of… lockout shall be filed with the regional branch of the Board at least thirty (30) days before the intended date thereof, a copy of said notice having been served on the other party concerned. In cases of unfair labor practices, the period of notice shall be fifteen (15) days. (Section 3, Rule XIII, Ibid.)

NB: The contents of the notice of lockout is similar to the notice of strike.

c. Disclosure of information

In collective bargaining, the parties shall, at the request of either of them, make available such up-to-date financial information on the economic situation of the undertaking, which is normally submitted to relevant government agencies, as is material and necessary for meaningful negotiations. Where the disclosure of some of this information could be prejudicial to the undertaking, its communication may be made conditioned upon a commitment that it would be regarded as confidential to the extent required. The information to be made available may be agreed upon between the parties to collective bargaining. (Section 5, Rule XIII, Ibid.)

d. Conciliation

Upon receipt of the notice, the regional branch of the Board shall exert all efforts at mediation and conciliation to enable the parties to settle the dispute amicably. The regional branch of the Board shall also encourage the parties to submit the dispute to voluntary arbitration. (Section 6, Rule XIII, Ibid.)

During the proceedings, the parties shall not do any act which may disrupt or impede the early settlement of the dispute. They are obliged, as part of their duty to bargain collectively in good faith, to participate fully and promptly in the conciliation meetings called by the regional branch of the Board. The regional branch of the Board shall have the power to issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of the parties to the meetings. (Paragraph 2, Section 6, Rule XIII, Ibid.)

1) Privileged communication

Information and statements given at conciliation proceedings shall be treated as privileged communications. Conciliators and similar officials shall not testify in any court or body regarding any matter taken up at conciliation proceedings conducted by them. (Section 6, Rule XIII, Ibid.)

e. Lockout vote

1) Majority vote

A decision to declare a lockout must be approved by a majority of the board of directors/trustees of the employer corporation or association or the partners in a partnership obtained in a meeting called for the purpose. (Paragraph 2, Section 1, Revised NCMB Manual of Procedures for Conciliation and Prevention Mediation Cases)

2) Lockout ban period

The strike ban period shall be counted seven (7) days from receipt of the results of the strike/lockout vote. In determining the period, the first day shall be excluded and the last day included. Before the expiration of the strike/lockout ban period, the conciliator-mediator may encourage the parties to conduct improved or reduced offer balloting. (Section 3, Rule VI, Ibid.)

f. Declaration of lockout

Should the dispute remain unsettled after the lapse of the requisite number of days from the filing of the notice of… lockout, … the employer may lock out its workers. The regional branch of the Board shall continue mediating and conciliating. (Section 8, Rule XIII, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code)

g. Improved offer balloting

In case of a lockout, the regional branch of the Board shall also conduct a referendum by secret balloting on the reduced offer of the union on or before the 30th day of the lockout. When at least a majority of the board of directors or trustees or the partners holding the controlling interest in the case of a partnership vote to accept the reduced offer, the workers shall immediately return to work and the employer shall thereupon readmit them upon the signing of the agreement. (Paragraph 2, Section 8-a, Rule XIII, Ibid.)

Reduced offer balloting– refers to a referendum by secret balloting conducted by the Regional Branch on the reduced offer of the union. (No. 29, Rule III, The Revised National Conciliation and Mediation Board Manual of Procedures for Conciliation and Prevention Mediation Cases, 2017 edition)

h. Injunctions

No court or entity shall enjoin any picketing, strike or lockout, except as provided in Articles 218 and 264 of the Code. (Section 12, Rule XIII, Ibid.)


Presidential Decree No. 442, a.k.a. Labor Code of the Philippines

2017 Revised NCMB Manual of Procedures for Conciliation and Prevention Mediation Cases

1996 DOLE Primer on Strike, Picketing and Lockout

NCMB Procedural Guidelines in the Conduct of Voluntary Arbitration Proceedings

Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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