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The ACFTU and Chinese Industrial Relations


Zhining Ma

In the context of China’s growing influence over the global economy, its newly developed labour market and the subsequent series of industrial relations issues have captured much attention. However, research on industrial relations and labour problems in China is relatively underdeveloped. The classic three-party industrial relations model, which was developed for western economies, has been difficult to apply to China’s circumstances.
In light of this, this book reviews the relevant existing industrial relations theories and explores their applicability to China. It then proposes a new six-party taxonomy for the analysis of China’s union system and industrial relations, taking into account distinctive industrial relations actors with ‘Chinese characteristics’ and their interrelationships at different social levels. This new taxonomy is then used to provide a broader picture of evolving industrial relations in China.


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Chapter Seven - Conclusions and Future Studies -205


Chapter Seven Conclusions and Future Studies In this concluding chapter, we first summarize all the major findings in the previous chapters, then brief ly discuss the implications of the research, and finally point out possible future research topics concerning industrial relations in China. 7.1 Conclusions 7.1.1 A New Industrial Relations Model Having examined existing literature on general (western) industrial rela- tions theories in the first chapter, I argued that a typical three-party ana- lytical framework does not fit well with the realities of China’s industrial relations. Having regard to the classic three-party model and Taylor et al.’s (2003) revised four-party model, I developed a “six party” analytical taxonomy. In this new taxonomy, the six parties are the major actors in contemporary China’s industrial relations, namely the party-state, the employers’ associations, the ACFTU, the grass roots unions, the employ- ers and the employees. This framework also takes into account the dif fer- ences between China’s macro and micro level environments. Accordingly, it distinguishes the relationships among industrial relations actors above and at the workplace level. This analytical taxonomy, I believe, is a contribution to the under- standing of China’s industrial relations. By applying it, researchers can analyse China’s industrial relations in a comprehensive manner and draw 206 Chapter Seven more sophisticated conclusions about the complicated inter-relationships among dif ferent industrial relations actors. The rest of the book presents an overall picture of China’s industrial relations based on this taxonomy. Chapters Two to Four of the book focus on the industrial relations...

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