Regulating Collective Labour Disputes in China: A Tale of Two Actors
Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 10, Issue 2, pp. 276-290
16 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2016
Date Written: June 1, 2016
China’s economic and social reforms since the late 1970s have seen a dramatic transformation of the relationship between the state, labour, and capital. Labour relations in a rapidly evolving labour market have been characterised by rising inequality, insecurity, and instability. Over the past two decades, there has been an explosive growth in the number and scale of individual and collective labour disputes. Attempts to resolve labour disputes have revealed the complex relationship between a top-down regulatory approach by the state and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) on the one hand, and bottom-up pressures from workers for grassroots representation in the workplace on the other. Ongoing deficiencies in the ACFTU’s functions, structure and operation have generally limited its ability to effectively represent workers’ interests. Despite the absence of an official role in labour dispute settlement, the activities of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in providing various forms of assistance to workers in labour disputes have continued to expand in recent years. This paper addresses, through historical and contextual lens, the following question: what is the nature of the role of these two actors in collective labour dispute resolution in China?
Keywords: Labour disputes, Chinese trade unions
JEL Classification: J5, J51, J52, J83, K31
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