Beyond the Union-Centred Approach: A Critical Evaluation of Recent Trade Union Elections in China

Elaine Sio ieng Hui, Chris King chi Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many Western scholars have regarded union democracy and elections as affairs that are internal to trade unions and unconnected with outside forces. Going beyond the mainstream union-centred approach, this study critically assesses one significant type of union election that has been emerging in China since 2010 and that has been driven by different forces from previous elections. Previous workplace union elections had been 'top-down' - initiated by the party-state or its apparatuses, or else transnational corporation-induced - but this newer type of election has been driven by workers' strikes. This study illustrates how the dynamics among the quadripartite actors - party-state, higher-level trade unions, capital and labour - have shaped these strike-driven elections. Contrary to the claim that these elections have been 'direct' and 'democratic', our case studies show that they have been indirect and quasi-democratic in nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-627
Number of pages27
JournalBritish Journal of Industrial Relations
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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