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Macau SAR (China)

The ITUC does not have an affiliate in Macau.

In practice

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Migrant workers denied rights30-11-2010

Migrant workers are denied basic forms of protection and have no right to collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
and no effective legal recourse in the case of unfair dismissal. Most generally earn less than half the wage of local workers employed in the same job, and contracts are between labour recruitment agents and the employer, rather than directly between the employer and the employees. There is also little supervision of recruitment agencies, which often demand exorbitant fees from migrant workers.

The new law on the Employment of Foreign Employees from October 2009 remains discriminatory and is too vague. It imposes a levy on employers of non-resident workers. The bill gives a six month re-entry ban on workers who terminate their contracts and prohibits the transfer to other job categories. The government said in November 2011 that it is planning to include new exceptions to the six-month ban. It is considering relaxing the ban to allow non-resident workers to change jobs immediately provided they keep working in the same industry.

Difficulties in registering organisations and trade unions31-12-2010

In practice, many labour groups and unions find it difficult to register as organisations, and informal worker groups are not permitted to exist. In many cases organisers are asked to submit the names of potential members before registration. However, due to fears of retribution and blacklisting, many supporters are unwilling to provide full details.

China’s influence over union activity31-12-2010

It is widely believed that the central government of the People’s Republic of China has a strong influence over local trade union activities, including the direct selection of the leadership of the largest private sector union, the Federation of Trade Unions. Nearly all of the six main private sector unions belong to this pro-Beijing federation. This has undermined the independence of trade unions, since support for central government policies, such as the minimisation of workplace disruption, overrides the protection of the rights and interests of trade union members. There have been reports of intimidation of those who do speak out against the Beijing government both politically and in terms of labour rights. Civil society is weak, but there has been a growth of smaller and more vocal trade unions, alongside a growth in civil society associations.

Blacklisting unionists and denial of re-entry to Macau30-11-2009

Macau is believed to keep a blacklist of local workers who have supported local strikes and regularly denies entry to "trouble-makers”. In March five Hong Kong legislators including Lee Cheuk Yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, were denied entry. Lee Cheuk Yan reported that he had recently been denied entry three times.

Lack of union law has crucial impact31-12-2008

A proposed trade union law drafted by unionist and legislator Jose Pereira Coutinho failed to gain support in 2009 for the third time. The outcome was not surprising given the lack of independent legislators in the legislative body. Still, the failure of Macau to have a law governing trade unions has very negative effects for workers, who are often unaware of the role of trade unions and unable to get information at their workplace. Most workers with disputes have to present complaints to the Labour Bureau or attempt to speak to the employer alone. Both the Bureau and the workers have little negotiating power with employers, who generally ignore the complaints and complainants. In some cases, the Labour Bureau will try to deter complainants.

Limits on organising30-11-2009
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