The Hong Kong Competition Commission (the
"Commission") published a set of revised
draft guidelines ("Guidelines") to the
Competition Ordinance (Cap. 619) (the
"CO") on 30 March 2015. The revised
Guidelines are a good indication of how the Commission intends to
interpret the CO, however they are not legally binding and may be
subject to further revision.
The Commission takes the view in the revised Guidelines that
collective bargaining between a group of employees and their
employer in relation to employment matters such as salaries and
conditions of work will not be considered a
contravention to the CO, as employees are an integral part of the
employer. In particular, the Guidelines state that the CO will not
apply to collective negotiations between an employer and a trade
union where it acts as an agent representing a number of
Employers should take note that the situation would differ if a
trade union represented employees of more than one
employer, in collective negotiations with two or more
employers who are competitors in the industry. In such
industry-wide collective negotiations, the employees and employers
involved would not form part of an integral unit, as such their
collective conduct would fall within the scope of the
The revised Guidelines clarify that any decision or
recommendation made by or through a trade association comprising of
competitors can potentially be anti-competitive, even if not
binding on its members. Employers need to be aware that recommended
fee scales and "reference" wages or commission rates
suggested by trade associations would likely contravene the CO.
1 Please see our previous legal update here on collective
bargaining for wages through trade unions.
Originally published 2 April 2015
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