The right to collective bargaining cannot be found in any law in Macau and the Region also lacks a trade union law, which is the instrument normally used to regulate, inter alia, collective bargaining. Several bills on a trade union law were voted down at the Legislative Assembly. In face of the lack of internal regulation on collective bargaining in special and trade unions in general, where there are significant conflicts between an employer and its employees the praxis is the use of a praeter legem tripartite consultation process, involving the employer, a workers’ association (or a workers’ representative group) and the government. However, while this tripartite mechanism is often employed to solve disputes, collective agreements are a rare feature. Despite lack of regulation, collective agreements are not illegal and can be concluded under the general framework of contracts, as far as they do not contravene mandatory rules set forth in the Labour Relations Law, unless they provide for better conditions for employees. If a collective agreement violate mandatory rules establishing minimum standards of employment conditions the infringing clauses are considered non-existent and are replaced by the legally established standards. On the other hand, praeter legem collective agreements do not have erga omnes effect, thus binding only those who signed it, personally or through a representative.
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