PLC Paper No. LS 35
Paper for the House Committee Meeting of the
Provisional Legislative Council
on 17 October 1997
Legal Service Division Report on Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997
Object of the Bill
To amend or repeal most of the legislative provisions suspended from operation under the Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Ordinance 1997 which relate to the Employment Ordinance, Trade Unions Ordinance and Employee's Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Ordinance.
PLC Brief Reference
2.EMB CR 8/3231/97 III issued by the Education and Manpower Bureau and dated 14 October 1997.
Date of First Reading
3.15 October 1997.
4.Members will recall that the Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Ordinance 1997 (126 of 1997) was passed by the Council in July 1997 suspending the operation of certain newly-enacted legislative provisions until 31 October 1997. Among these provisions are the Employee's Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Ordinance (101 of 1997) and provisions amending the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) and Trade Unions Ordinance (Cap. 332).
5.The Bill now proposes to amend or repeal most of those legislative provisions concerning the 3 labour-related ordinances. Specifically, the Employee's Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Ordinance will be repealed in its entirety. All the amendments made by the Employment (Amendment) (No. 4) Ordinance 1997 (8 of 1997) to its principal ordinance to introduce a set of civil remedies for discriminatory dismissals including a court order for re-employment without consent, will also be repealed. The reasons for their respective repeal are explained in detail in the fore-mentioned information paper.
6.As to the amendments made by the Trade Unions (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance 1997 to its principal ordinance, only some minor ones (relating to age of members, calculation of majority in voting, opening up of a federation to trade unions of different trades and disengagement of federation officer from the relevant trades) will be retained. The rest will be amended to either restore the previous provisions (union officer to be engaged in the relevant trade, Chief Executive's approval for contributions to other unions and membership in foreign organisation and restrictions on use of union funds) or introduce new amendments (right to join related foreign organisation, prohibition against membership in foreign political organisation and right of appeal against refusal to register union rules).
7.According to the Administration, the proposals in the Bill have been made after consultation with and recommendation from the Labour Advisory Board.
Consultation with Panel
8.The Panel on Manpower were briefed on the progress on the review of the 3 labour-related ordinances at its meetings on 19 August and 30 September 1997.
9.In view of the urgency of and public interest in the Bill, the House Committee agreed at its meeting on 3 October 1997 that before a Bills Committee could be set up after the first reading, a Subcommittee should be formed as soon as possible to commence scrutiny of the draft Bill without delay. After the Subcommittee was formed, a meeting was held on 9 October 1997 and it decided, subject to endorsement by the House Committee, to continue scrutiny of the Bill as a Bills Committee at a further meeting scheduled for 20 October 1997.
10.On the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill, clarification on some technical points will be necessary. This will be followed up in the usual manner.
CHEUNG Ping-kam, Arthur
Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
14 October 1997