Hong Kong (RAE - China) - Consultation rather than bargaining (2011)

The government has consistently claimed that there is no need for collective bargaining rights in the public sector because the administration «consults» civil servants over their pay and conditions. However, recent civil service reforms, involving transfers, reductions in wages and benefits, retrenchment and contracting-out to the private sector, have demonstrated very clearly that the government is free to act unilaterally without consulting the affected civil servants.

The same attitude is persistently held in the private sector, where companies such as Cathay Pacific substitute «consultation» for collective bargaining while unilaterally proposing and determining major labour policies. A strike lodged by the Flight Attendants’ Union was avoided in the last minute in April 2010 after the management scrapped the new roster policy that was introduced unilaterally in March.

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