Industrial relations in Hong Kong : change and development during the transitional period

Yui-Tim WONG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


The industrial relations in Hong Kong are principally a product of political, economic and cultural cirumstances particular to Hong Kong itself. (England and Rear, 1981) So, for studying industrial relations in Hong Kong, it is necessary to have a review of these characteristics.
Hong Kong is a British Colony in which a classical form of colonial administration is adopted. The cautious paternalism of government and the laissez-faire approach to economic matter seem to meet the ideal relationship between government and Hong Kong people. It also has the implications both for the power status of workers and managers in the society. For instance, degree of participation of the labour force or their trade representatives in public policy decisions is relatively small, whereas the business leaders are greatly represented on the Executive and Legislative Councils.
Hong Kong due to its political realities make itself either a British Colony or an integral part of China under the influence from Peking. It has three significant consequences for industrial relations. Firstly, the provision of independence does not provide a unifying ideology for the labour movement. Rather, the trade unions are divided between Communist and Kuomintang. Secondly. the government's policies are influenced by both Britain and Mainland China, and emphasize on maintaining law and order in a politically delicate atmosphere. Thirdly, the problem of 1997 makes Hong Kong an unstable place for long term industrial investment. (England and Rear, 1971)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalAsian Profile
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1992


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