THE SUPREME Court (SC) has reversed a Court of Appeals decision that upheld the validity of a 2012 collective bargaining agreement between the state-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and a workers union granting employees additional benefits. 

In a nine-page decision dated March 30 and made public on April 3, the tribunal said the agreement did not have prior approval from the president.  

“The Court reminds that the law fixed the terms and conditions of government employment and any contract that violates the law is void and cannot be a source of rights and obligations,it said.  

Supervisory employees and members of the Association of CDC Supervisory Personnel (ACSP) union would have been entitled to additional leaves, an 8% salary increase, and a one-time signing bonus of P25,000, among other allowances.  

The Governance Commission for Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations sought to stop the agreement’s implementation since it violated a moratorium on increases in salaries and allowances.  

It cited Executive Order No. 7 signed in 2010, which mandated that additional allowances must have specific authorization from the president.  

The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the worker’s union as it said the president’s approval of additional benefits was “presumed in line with the principle that all doubts should be resolved in favor of labor.”  

“The court finds no factual and legal bases for the CA to presume that the president approved the renegotiated economic provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between CDC and ACSP,” the High Court said. 

Citing similar cases, it said revoking the collective bargaining agreement did not amount to a “diminution of benefits.” 

“In sum, the CDC has a valid reason not to implement the increases in salaries and benefits as provided in the renegotiated collective bargaining agreement,” the tribunal said. John Victor D. Ordoñez