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29 Jul 2022

Competition and Markets Authority wage-fixing cartel probe

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On 12 July 2022, the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") opened its first investigation into labour markets when it announced its potential wage-fixing cartel probe against BT Group PLC, IMG Media Limited (including Premier League Productions), ITV PLC, and Sky UK Limited (together, the "Broadcasters"). In this recent CMA investigation, the Broadcasters have allegedly colluded to fix the rates offered to freelance workers, such as camera operators, sound engineers, slow-motion specialists, floor managers and technical staff, which each support the production and broadcasting of sports content in the UK.

Traditionally, competition authorities worldwide have largely focussed on price-fixing arrangements within the sale of goods and services markets. However, this investigation reflects a growing recognition that antitrust rules have a role to play in labour markets and that authorities are increasingly investigating anti-competitive practices between competitors in labour markets. Companies should have to compete for workers just like they compete for customers, products or services. The same antitrust rules apply.

This briefing explores the CMA's investigation, legal issues, anti-competitive practices in labour markets and practical advice.

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