The Limits and Possibilities of Trade Unions in Transition
We have seen in previous chapters that the activities of the trade unions in all three countries are severely constrained by their political situation, on the one hand, and the dependence of workplace trade unions on management, on the other. The two barriers are closely linked, in that their commitment to the maintenance of social peace, born of their dependence on the state, makes the higher-level trade union organisations very reluctant to sanction or encourage activism on the part of workplace trade unions which might give rise to labour conflicts and even to strikes. The ACFTU and VGCL, which are subject to direct political control from the Party and local administration, are more rigidly constrained in this respect than is FNPR in Russia, whose legitimacy and political weight depends on its ability to show that it represents its members and which faces competition from alternative trade unions. These are the main reasons why the Russian trade unions have made considerably more progress in developing their proper trade union activities than have the trade unions in China and Vietnam. While there has been some local progress in developing more effective trade unionism in China and Vietnam, it is Russia that can give us a better idea of what is possible and so in this chapter we will concentrate on examples from Russia.
KeywordsTrade Union Regional Committee Collective Agreement Regional Administration Primary Organisation
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