Petitioners were drivers of private respondent’s taxicabs under the boundary system whose earnings were regularly deducted washing fee for the taxi units. Petitioners decided to form a labor union to protect their rights and interests on the belief that the deductions made were illegal. Upon learning, respondent refused to let petitioners drive their taxicabs when they reported for work. Aggrieved, petitioners filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with the Labor Arbiter but the latter dismissed said complaint. On appeal, the NLRC tribunal declared that petitioners are employees of private respondent. On reconsideration however, the decision was reversed by the NLRC tribunal and held that no employer-employee relationship between the parties exists.
Whether or not petitioner taxi drivers are employees of respondent company.
In a number of cases decided by this Court, we ruled that the relationship between jeepney owners/operators on one hand and jeepney drivers on the other under the boundary system is that of employer-employee and not of lessor-lessee. In the case of jeepney owners/operators and jeepney drivers, the former exercise supervision and control over the latter. The management of the business is in the owner’s hands. The owner as holder of the certificate of public convenience must see to it that the driver follows the route prescribed by the franchising authority and the rules promulgated as regards its operation. Now, the fact that the drivers do not receive fixed wages but get only that in excess of the so-called “boundary” they pay to the owner/operator is not sufficient to withdraw the relationship between them from that of employer and employee. We have applied by analogy the doctrine to the relationships between bus owner/operator and bus conductor, auto-calesa owner/operator and driver, and recently between taxi owners/operators and taxi drivers. Hence, petitioners are undoubtedly employees of private respondent because as taxi drivers they perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of their employer.