Online from: 1979
Subject Area: Human Resource Management
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|Title:||Establishing trade unions within foreign companies in China|
|Author(s):||Wu Qingjun, (School of Labour and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China)|
|Citation:||Wu Qingjun, (2010) "Establishing trade unions within foreign companies in China", Employee Relations, Vol. 32 Iss: 4, pp.349 - 363|
|Keywords:||China, Industrial relations, Trade unions, Transnational companies|
|Article type:||Case study|
|DOI:||10.1108/01425451011051587 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – This article aims to study unionisation of foreign companies in China and to evaluate its effectiveness on representing labour rights and interests, so as to explore the relationships between the Chinese unions and other industrial relations actors.
Design/methodology/approach – The article is based on in-depth interview of key stakeholders from national, regional and company trade unions, as well as company management personnel. An archive study of union and company files is also conducted.
Findings – The Chinese trade union has realised that its interests stem from both the increase of membership dues and expansion of the membership base. Unionisation in transnational corporations (TNCs) is a key approach to achieve the interests of the union, which conducts grassroots mobilisation to counteract non-operative companies but turns a blind eye on labour interest violations in collaborative firms. From the aspect of the union, the effectiveness of unionisation depends on raising its power leverage by affording fewer duties for the workers. Labour rights and workers' demands are not the structural concern of unionisation in TNCs.
Originality/value – The article challenges the research framework about Chinese unionism, which mainly emphasises a state-union relationship or draws a corporatism perspective. The article concludes that the power relationship between the union and firm has acted as the key theme of the power struggle among industrial relations actors of China.
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