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Collective Bargaining and Changing Industrial Relations in China.

Lessons from the U.S. and Germany


Siqi Luo

This study focuses on the status and prospects of collective bargaining in China based on lessons learned from the post-war United States and Germany. The author regards collective bargaining as a type of core wage regulation that emerged from production regimes at the factory level and from economic and labor policies of the state. This analysis compares the production regimes and the state-labor-capital relations in China today with the U.S. and German models in order to identify the missing links as well as potential driving forces in the current system of collective contract in China. Finally, the author proposes an ideal model of collective bargaining in China, one that offers solutions to a more just and sustainable trajectory of industrial development and that tailors to the power status of the major actors in industrial relations.


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Collective bargaining in the U.S. and Germany: The rise and fall of Fordist wage regulation


This chapter places China within the broader historical development of accumulation regimes and regulation modes that set the stage for world capitalism. Before delving into the problem of China, two distinctive cases - the United States and Germany - are analyzed to show common factors that have led to the formation of collective bargaining and also impacted its social impacts. This study examines the history of industrial development in the U.S. and Germany, with a particular focus on the period between the two World Wars. It was not only this time when post-war Fordism had taken form, including the institutionalization of collective bargaining, but this period also marked a profound impact on the different structures and functions of the systems of industrial relations up to the present day. Thus, the country cases starts from comparing their distinctive institutions and functions of collective bargaining. Moreover, the original causes of such two distinctive models - the similarities and differences of industrial, social and political conditions in the process of institution-building - are carefully analyzed. In the two historical cases, the inter-linkage between the mode of regulation and the regime of accumulation at historical certain stages is further clarified. Lessons are drawn from the advantages and disadvantages of the two collective bargaining and industrial relation systems, which is in large part mainly determined by whether they facilitate or block the development of intensive accumulation regimes, typically machine-based mass production at the time. 2.1 Two systems of industrial relations Throughout the golden age of...

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