Chinese Trade Unions and Workplace Relations in State-owned and Joint-venture Enterprises

  • Anita Chan
Part of the Studies on the Chinese Economy book series (STCE)


This chapter examines how China’s industrial reforms have affected the relationship between the government, labour unions, and industrial workers. It will focus particularly on the conditions of the workers in the SOEs and JVs (looking separately at Western and Asian-invested JVs) at a time when the iron rice-bowl is no longer intact. In each of these two industrial sectors, the relationship between workers and management is quite different, which in turn leads to their workplace unions playing quite distinct roles. As will be seen, the workplace unions in the state enterprises are fighting to retain their bureaucratic status as the enterprises undergo rapid ownership restructuring. In the JVs, the new workplace unions are even weaker, and many are almost completely dominated by management. This chapter will try to draw some conclusions on the future prospects of the official Chinese trade unions in the context of the enormous pressures Chinese workers are facing as the economy advances towards capitalism.


Trade Union Human Resource Management Collective Bargaining Industrial Relation State Enterprise 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Anita Chan

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