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Romanian Competition Council launches labour market investigation

Cristina Popescu
Cristina Popescu

The Romanian Competition Council (RCC) launched its first ever investigation on potentially anti-competitive conduct by automotive companies on the labour market.

The Romanian competition watchdog is acting on information received through its competition whistleblowing portal. The RCC is now investigating whether competing companies active in the automotive industry may have coordinated their actions for the purposes of sharing the market of qualified/specialised workers and setting remuneration levels.

The RCC is now investigating whether these “no poaching” tactics, where companies agree to refrain from soliciting, recruiting and hiring the employees (either current or former) of competitors, are likely to eliminate effective competition between companies in attracting workforce, which could lead to artificial market barriers, a decrease in worker mobility and possibility contribute to worker captivity.

According to the RCC, these practices also have the effect of maintaining a lower level of remuneration for the targeted employees than they would have otherwise received in the absence of such an agreement between competitors.

The RCC has conducted dawn raids at the headquarters of companies suspected of being involved in this behaviour. Although still in its early phase, it will be interesting to see how the RCC approaches this type of arrangements, as it is likely that such a probe will not be limited to the automotive market alone. Companies active in other industries where a specialised workforce is in short supply are advised to audit their own practices in this respect.

This new investigation also highlights the importance of the RCC’s whistleblowing platform and confirms that the competition regulator is pursuing leads generated by whistleblowers.

Cristina Popescu, Senior Counsel and Head of CEE Insurance Practice Group CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP SCP

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