Trends and Prospects in 34 Countries
Edited By Craig Phelan
The All China Federation of Trade Unions:Present Role, Trends and Prospects 489
BILL TAYLOR and QI LI The All China Federation of Trade Unions: Present Role, Trends and Prospects 1. Introduction In the period 1949 to 1978, the Chinese economy was organised under a centrally planned system resembling the soviet communist system. This system has been gradually replaced by capitalist economic relations since the 1980s and continues to reform today. The context of industrial relations in China is one of fundamental change, where institutions, ideologies and practices are all in constant flux. The All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), the official union body, has been more resistant to change than many other institutions in the reform, but economic, political and social forces are creating tremendous pressures for change. It remains unclear how the ACFTU will evolve within this context. This chapter will interlace descriptions of the shifting situation in China with analysis of the tensions within the ACFTU over self reform. 2. The General Situation of the ACFTU Status and Function The ACFTU is the only legally sanctioned representative of labour in China. The Trade Unions Law (2001) and the ACFTU’s Constitution (1998) specify that the ACFTU’s fundamental duty is to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of employees (referred to as workers Bill Taylor and Qi Li 490 and staff members in Chinese, but include managers). The monopoly status of the ACFTU has at times been challenged by alternative independent union bodies, but none have the mass base or have been sustained long enough to pose serious competition. Central to...
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