CHINA: THE CHALLENGE OF LABOUR UNREST
Thursday 19 March 6pm
Speaker: Dr. Tim Pringle
Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)< University of London
Lecture Theatre G35, Ground Floor
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
All Saints, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6BH
Chinese labour relations are at a crossroads. The government’s strategy of building up a legal framework to manage the opposing interests of labour and capital has probably gone as far as it can without the inclusion of effective collective bargaining. On the other hand, the factors underpinning the growing capacity of Chinese workers to pursue their demands via strike action remain in place, including labour shortages, an expanding working class, and comparatively high rights awareness. Throw into this mix a Party-run trade union that is only beginning to acquire the skills required to represent members effectively in a market-run economy and you have an unpredictable spectrum of possible outcomes: at one end trade union reform rooted in collective bargaining, at another end a see-saw of repression and spontaneous strikes.
This presentation will examine how class struggles have been the main impetus for the various forms of bargaining that have emerged to date and discuss the opportunities and constraints on transforming this somewhat haphazard approach into a policy-driven institutional response.
Dr. Tim Pringle: After working for over a decade with various labour rights organisations in Hong Kong and Mainland China, Tim was a co-investigator on a major research project examining trade union reform in Russia, China and Vietnam. He has published his research in numerous trade union, labour NGO and peer-reviewed journals and contributed chapters to many edited books. He has written two recently published books: Trade Unions in China: the Challenge of Labour unrest (Routledge 2013) and The Challenge of Transition: trade unions in Russia, China and Vietnam (Palgrave 2011) with Professor Simon Clarke. He currently works as a Senior Lecturer at SOAS, University of London where he convenes an MSc in Labour, Social Movements and Development.