Public consultation for first union law pushed to year-end

The public consultation for the first local union law will be likely only be carried out in the last quarter of this year, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong revealed today (Thursday).

Unde the 2021 policy address the public consultation was set to be initiated in the first quarter of this year and submitted for Legislative Assembly evaluation in the last quarter.

Talking on the sidelines of the 12th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF) opening ceremony. Secretary Lei also revealed the consultation will last for 180 days with the law likely only approved in 2022.

A draft proposal for a long-delayed local union law has been submitted to the Macau SAR Standing Committee for the Co-ordination of Social Affairs (CPCS) for evaluation last year, with the employer and labour representatives discussing the possible legal framework for union association registration and collective bargaining regime.

“Departments under my Office will also collect more opinions in local community neighbourhoods. I think labour relations at the moment are harmonious. With the union law, more than 96 per cent of local labour relations will be covered. We have had a very stable situation so far concerning labour relations,” Lei noted today.

According to the Secretary, the CPCS would likely finish collecting opinions from union groups by the end of September.

Despite stipulation in article 27 of the Basic Law of Macau that Macau residents enjoy “the right and freedom to form and join trade unions, and to strike”, no union law has been approved by authorities since the Macau SAR was founded in 1999.

Meanwhile, bills presented by members of the Legislative Assembly to enact a trade union law which sought to establish collective bargaining rights have been voted down 12 times at the plenary.