The government says that it will launch a public consultation on the drafting of a trade union bill after collecting opinions from the city’s business and labour sectors.
Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) Director Wong Chi Hong made the remarks while speaking to reporters on Friday after a regular closed-door meeting of the Standing Council on Social Concerted Action at the Macau Business Support Centre (MBSC) in Nape.
The Standing Council on Social Concerted Action, a government-appointed consultative body tasked with advising the government on its labour policies, consists of five business sector representatives and five labour representatives, as well as a number of government officials.
Friday’s meeting, chaired by Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong, was this year’s second plenary meeting of the council, where government officials told business and labour representatives about a public consultation document on a trade union bill that it has recently completed drafting.
The government announced in a statement early this month that it has completed drafting a public consultation document on a trade union bill and has submitted the document to members of the Standing Council on Social Concerted Action for perusal. The statement underlined that the drafting of a trade union bill is a major labour policy measure, a process closely related to the interests of the city’s business and labour sectors.
The statement said that the government will first “thoroughly” listen to opinions on its proposal on trade union legislation from the business and labour representatives of the Standing Council on Social Concerted Action first before launching a public consultation on the matter “in due course”.
According to the statement, the government’s proposal on trade union legislation covers a trade union registration system and a collective bargaining system. The statement also said that the government has drafted its proposal on trade union legislation after referencing the relevant regulations in a number of countries and regions while considering Macao’s current social situation.
The statement, which was released by the Secretariat for Economy and Finance on 4 November, said that the government proposes that the legal position of the city’s trade unions would be formally established through specific legislation, which would regulate the composition and functioning of trade unions and their rights and obligations.
Time needed to ‘digest’
Speaking to reporters after Friday’s meeting of the Standing Council on Social Concerted Action, Wong said that both the business and labour representatives of the council said that they would need time to “digest” the contents of the public consultation document and to collect opinions from members of the two sectors’ various associations, only after which the two sectors would be able to submit their respective written opinions to the government.
Wong, who is the council’s coordinator, said that afterwards, the government would be able to carry out a public consultation on the matter.
Wong underlined that the drafting of a trade union bill is a “major and complicated” labour policy measure, which also involved the interests of various segments of Macao’s civil society, apart from the business and labour sectors. Wong said that therefore the government agreed that the business and labour sectors would need “ample” time to gain a good understanding of the public consultation document.
The Legislative Assembly (AL) rejected a trade union bill for the 12th time early this month. The latest version of the bill was jointly submitted by non-establishment lawmakers José Maria Pereira Coutinho and Sulu Sou Ka Hou.
A total of 12 trade union bills by various lawmakers have been submitted to the legislature since the founding of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in December 1999.
Macao is the only jurisdiction in China that still does not have a trade union law – unlike the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)