Keywords: competition law, collective bargaining, employment, wage-fixing, price-fixing,

In the previous episode of this series, Mayer Brown JSM discussed the implications of sharing sensitive employment information with competitors. Colin begins to wonder whether he should stop negotiating with trade unions on matters such as wages...

Colin: If wage-fixing is a form of price-fixing, what about negotiations of wages or pay rise with the federation of trade unions?

Mayer Brown JSM: Collective bargaining for wages or remuneration through federation of trade unions is price-fixing, and will violate the Competition Ordinance when it comes into force in Hong Kong. Because collective bargaining aligns workers' interests through a trade union, such conduct is similar to wage-fixing, which is prohibited under the Competition Ordinance.

As collective bargaining through federation of trade unions requires the exchange of information between businesses, employers should note that in participating in negotiations with federations of trade unions they could be accused of participating in an unlawful wage-fixing agreement.

Colin: Wow...

Originally published 28 November 2014

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