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The New Tasks for Chinese Trade Unions

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  • Sergio Grassi

Abstract

Chinese trade unions are under severe pressure to adapt to the new industrial-relations situation in China. On the one hand, they are still expected to fulfil their traditional role as the party’s ‘transmission belt’. On the other hand – since, in the course of economic reforms, market-oriented enterprises are becoming more and more dominant as a pillar of China’s economic growth – there is an increasing necessity for the offensive representation of workers’ interests. The self-conception of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) therefore encompasses a double identity as both a part of the state apparatus and the workers’ representative. At the same time, due to the progressive diversification of forms of enterprises, unions are currently confronted with a comprehensive structural change in the Chinese employment system. Hence, they now have to organize their members in non-traditional sectors such as private industry, the service sector, and among so-called informal employees. Meanwhile, the ACFTU strives to broaden its future ability to manoeuvre through its involvement in the drafting of new labour laws.

Suggested Citation

  • Sergio Grassi, 2008. "The New Tasks for Chinese Trade Unions," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 37(1), pages 139-161.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:chaktu:v:37:y:2008:i:1:p:139-161
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