Upholding worker rights

According to Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution,

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

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 to investments, and to expansion and growth.

In cases where workers or employers feel like they are still not being heard, even after having followed the grievance procedure, they may raise their cases to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). The NLRC is a quasi-judicial body under DOLE that is tasked to promote and maintain industrial peace by resolving labor and management disputes.

How to file a case with the NLRC

To file a case with the NLRC, the aggrieved party must create a complaint petition that cites their cause for action. All the complainants and respondents must be cited within the petition and this petition must be signed under oath. The petition must then be brought to the labor arbiters of their respective regional arbitration branches. The aggrieved party must also serve the opposing party with a copy of the pleading along with its supporting documents.

[See here for a list of Regional Arbitration Branches]


The labor arbiters of the NLRC have exclusive original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide upon the cases of all workers, whether agricultural or non-agricultural. The cases that they have jurisdiction over are the following:

  • Unfair labor practice cases
  • Termination disputes
  • If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, cases that workers may file involving wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment
  • Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from employer-employee relations
  • Cases arising from violation of Art. 264 of the Labor Code, which states that
    • No employer or labor organization may declare a strike or lockout without having first bargained collectively
    • No person may impede or interfere with a peaceful strike
    • No employer may use or employ a strike-breaker
    • No person engaged in picketing may engage in any violence
  • Wage distortion disputes in unorganized establishments not voluntarily settled by the parties pursuant to the Wage Rationalization Act. [R.A. 6727]
  • Enforcement of compromise agreements when there is non-compliance by any of the parties
  • Money claims arising out of employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract
  • Other issues will be taken on a case to case basis, as provided by the law

Source: nlrc.dole.gov.ph