Labour Advisory Board Report 2007-2008 Chapter 2. About the Board
2.1 Introduction

  The Labour Advisory Board (LAB) is a non-statutory body appointed by the Chief Executive to advise the Commissioner for Labour on labour matters including legislation and the application of international labour Conventions. The Commissioner for Labour is the ex-officio chairman of the LAB. The LAB has 12 members, six representing employers and six representing employees.

The LAB plays an important part in the formulation of labour policies and gives advice on labour legislation.

2.2 History

 
1927   The LAB was first appointed.
  • In its early years, the LAB was composed of representatives of large companies, government departments as well as the armed services. There were no employee representatives.
1946   The LAB became a tripartite body, with the Labour Officer as the ex-officio chairman.
  • There were three members representing European employers, three representing Chinese employers and three representing employees of major companies.
  • The Labour Officer was the head of the Labour Office which was originally part of the Secretariat for Chinese Affairs. It became an independent office (the present Labour Department (LD)) in 1946.
1947   The Commissioner of Labour became the ex-officio chairman of the LAB.
  • The head of the LD was retitled from the Labour Officer to the Commissioner of Labour.
1950   The LAB was reconstituted and election was introduced for the first time.
  • Of the four members representing employers, one was nominated by the Employers' Federation of Hong Kong, one by the Chinese Manufacturers' Union (renamed the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong in 1957), and two were appointed by the Government, one each from European and Chinese employers.
  • Of the four members representing employees, two were elected by trade unions by secret ballot, and the other two were appointed by the Government.
1977   The membership of the LAB was increased by four to 12.
  • It was composed of six employer representatives with four nominated by employer organisations and two appointed by the Government.
  • There were six employee representatives with three elected by trade unions and three appointed by the Government.
1985   The term of office of the LAB was extended from one to two years.
  • The number of elected employee representatives was increased from three to four, and this was offset by a reduction of appointed employee representatives from three to two.
1989   The number of nominated employer representatives and elected employee representatives was increased from four to five.
  • This was offset by a reduction in the number of appointed members on both sides to one.
1993   LAB members were entitled to honorarium and could initiate agenda items.
  • Non-official members of the LAB were eligible for an allowance for each term of office and they could initiate agenda items to be discussed in LAB meetings.
2003   The Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour) became the ex-officio chairman of the LAB.
  • In July 2003, the Labour Branch of the Economic Development and Labour Bureau merged with the LD. The new organisation retained the corporate title of the LD and was headed by the Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), who also assumed the role of the Commissioner for Labour.
2007   The Commissioner for Labour became the ex-officio chairman of the LAB.
  • In July 2007, the post of the Commissioner for Labour was reinstated upon the re-organisation of the Government Secretariat. The Commissioner for Labour became the ex-officio chairman of the LAB.

2.3 Terms of Reference

  The LAB advises the Commissioner for Labour on matters affecting labour, including legislation and Conventions and Recommendations of the International Labour Organisation. It may appoint such committees as it considers necessary and include any person not being a member of the LAB to serve on such committees.

2.4 Composition

 
Chairman:    Commissioner for Labour (ex-officio)

Members: Employer representatives

Five members nominated by major employer associations:
  • one representing the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce
  • one representing the Employers' Federation of Hong Kong
  • one representing the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of
    Hong Kong
  • one representing the Federation of Hong Kong Industries
  • one representing the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce
One member appointed ad personam

Employee representatives

Five members elected by registered employee unions
One member appointed ad personam
Secretary: A Senior Labour Officer of the Labour Department

2.5 LAB Election of Employee Representatives 2006

  An election, by secret ballot, was held on 4 November 2006 for the registered employee unions to elect employee representatives for the 2007-2008 term. In this election, 10 candidates vied for five seats as employee representatives on the LAB. Out of a total of 378 employee unions registered as electors, 345 took part in the election.

On the employer side, the five major employer associations were invited in late 2006 to nominate representatives to sit on the LAB. The remaining two members, one representing employers and the other representing employees, were appointed by the Government ad personam.

The appointment of the 12 members was published in the Government Gazette.

The Chairman of the LAB, Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung (3rd from right), and the elected employee representatives. The Chairman of the LAB, Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung (3rd from right), and the elected employee representatives.


2.6 Committees of the LAB

  To enable the LAB to cope with the increasing range and complexity of matters requiring its attention, and to encourage greater participation by members and persons outside the LAB, five committees on special subject areas have been set up under the auspices of the LAB. They are:
  • Committee on Employees' Compensation
  • Committee on Employment Services
  • Committee on the Implementation of International Labour Standards
  • Committee on Labour Relations
  • Committee on Occupational Safety and Health
LAB members and over 30 persons including employer and employee representatives from outside the LAB, academics, professionals, as well as representatives from government departments, public bodies and concern groups, served on the five committees. Details of the terms of reference, composition and work of these committees are given in their relevant chapters. Membership lists of the committees are at Appendices I to V.