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Magsalin vs. NOWN

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  BUENAVENTURA C. MAGSALIN & COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILS., INC., vs.   NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WORKING MEN (N.O.W.M.) FACTS: Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc., herein petitioner, engaged the services of respondent workers as sales route helpers for a limited period of 5 months. After 5 months, respondent workers were employed by petitioner company on a day-to-day basis. According to petitioner company, respondent workers were hired to substitute for regular sales route helpers whenever the latter would be unavailable or when there would be an unexpected shortage of manpower in any of its work places or an unusually high volume of work. The practice was for the workers to wait every morning outside the gates of the sales office of petitioner company. If thus hired, the workers would then be paid their wages at the end of the day. Ultimately, respondent workers asked petitioner company to extend to them regular appointments. Petitioner company refused. On 07 November 1997, 23 of the temporary workers (herein respondents) filed with the NLRC a complaint for the REGULARIZATION  of their employment with petitioner company. The complaint was amended a number of times to include other complainants that ultimately totaled 58 workers. Claiming that petitioner company meanwhile terminated their services, respondent workers filed a notice of strike and a complaint for illegal dismissal and unfair labor practice with the NLRC. ISSUE: Whether or not the nature of work of respondents in the company is of such nature as to be deemed necessary and desirable in the usual business or trade of petitioner that could qualify them to be regular employees. HELD: YES, they are regular employees under Art. 280.  Respondent workers, when hired, would go with route salesmen on board delivery trucks and undertake the laborious task of loading and unloading softdrink products of petitioner company to its various delivery points. The argument of petitioner that its usual business or trade is softdrink manufacturing and that the work assigned to respondent workers as sales route helpers so involves merely postproduction activities, one which is not indispensable in the manufacture of its products, scarcely can be persuasive. If, as so argued by petitioner company, only those whose work are directly involved in the production of softdrinks may be held performing functions necessary and desirable in its usual business or trade, there would have then been no need for it to even maintain regular truck sales route helpers. The nature of the work performed must be viewed from a perspective of the business or trade in its entirety and not on a confined scope. The repeated rehiring of respondent workers and the continuing need for their services clearly attest to the necessity or desirability of their services in the regular conduct of the business or trade of petitioner company. REASONABLE CONNECTION DOCTRINE: In determining whether an employment should be considered regular or non-regular, the applicable test is the reasonable connection  between the particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual business or trade of the employer. The standard, supplied by the law itself, is whether the work undertaken is necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, a fact that can be assessed by looking into the nature of the services rendered and its relation to the general scheme under which the business or trade is pursued in the usual  course. It is distinguished from a specific undertaking that is divorced from the normal activities required in carrying on the particular business or trade. But, although the work to be performed is only for a specific project or seasonal, where a person thus engaged has been  performing the job  for at least one year,  even if the performance is not continuous or is merely intermittent, the law deems the repeated and continuing need for its performance as being sufficient to indicate the necessity or desirability of that activity to the business or trade of the employer. The employment of such person is also then deemed to be regular with respect to such activity and while such activity exists.
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