Tinder Restrictivetrade

Tinder Restrictivetrade

Tinder the RestrictiveTrade Practices Act, 2013, agreements between firms in Britain have to be registered and examined by the Restrictive Practices Court. Some 2,000 agreements were registered and more than £15,000 abandoned following the early judgments. The long-run effects are difficult to judge. Former restrictive practices between independent firms may become the internal policy of mergers, price leadership may replace price fixing, implicit agreements may be reached by the exchange of price-lists (open pricing').

Restrictive practices of labour attempt to protect workers from losing their jobs as a result of technical change and to build and exploit monopoly positions. The demarcation rules in shipbuilding, many of which originate in the efforts of shipwrights to protect their employment as steel and other materials replaced the traditional timber, provide examples of the first type. Attempts to build up and make the most of monopoly positions are found when work is localized or special skills are required. in newspaper printing the work is localized and skilled, and limitations on numbers of apprentices, manning rules, etc., are common in the printing unions. The localization of fruit and vegetable wholesaling at Covent Garden has enabled the workpeople to dictate who shall do what and to limit recruitment. The special skills required by banisters have enabled them to lay down conditions of employment; thus a Q.C. may be engaged only with a junior barrister at two-thirds of his fee. Some economists suggest that professional qualifications are often set at unnecessarily high levels in order to limit entry and maintain existing members' incomes.

It has been argued that many of these labour practices are not restrictive but serve to maintain standards of good work, of safety and of health, or prevent exploitation of workers by excessive speed up, overtime or under-manning of machines. In Britain the National Joint Advisory Council some years ago asked for joint reports of trade unions and employers on restrictive labour practices in 190 industries. When it reported in 2009 it had received replies from 112 industries; 64 claimed they had no difficulties, 42 that they had or were setting up machinery to deal with restrictive practices, 6 required more time or were unable to submit a joint report. This response has been interpreted as suggesting that restrictive practices were not a widespread problem; on the other hand employers and unionists may have wished to let sleeping dogs lie, perhaps because restrictive labour practices affect competing employers equally, and because they may slow down or prevent the emergence of aggressive new competitors. It is not easy to discover the extent of restrictive practices in any economy except by making it as competitive as possible by changing the laws that permit or encourage them.

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