The Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) placed petitioners under preventive suspension in connection with a mass action staged by a number of public school teachers allegedly to dramatize their grievances against public school authorities. Civil Service Commission issued a resolution finding the petitioners guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and meted them a six-month suspension with automatic reinstatement in service but without payment of backwages.
Whether or not employees in the public service may engage in strikes.
NO. 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. It is an undisputed fact that there was a work stoppage and that petitioners’ purpose was to realize their demands by withholding their services. The fact that the conventional term “strike” was not used by the striking employees to describe their common course of action is inconsequential, since the substance of the situation, and not its appearance, will be deemed to be controlling.
Petition is DENIED. Decision of Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION.