The Role of Collective Bargaining in the Global Economy
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The Role of Collective Bargaining in the Global Economy

Negotiating for Social Justice

Edited by Susan Hayter

This book examines the ways in which collective bargaining addresses a variety of workplace concerns in the context of today’s global economy. Globalization can contribute to growth and development, but as the recent financial crisis demonstrated, it also puts employment, earnings and labour standards at risk. This book examines the role that collective bargaining plays in ensuring that workers are able to obtain a fair share of the benefits arising from participation in the global economy and in providing a measure of security against the risk to employment and wages. It focuses on a commonly neglected side of the story and demonstrates the positive contribution that collective bargaining can make to both economic and social goals. The various contributions examine how this fundamental principle and right at work is realized in different countries and how its practice can be reinforced across borders. They highlight the numerous resulting challenges and the critically important role that governments play in rebalancing bargaining power in a global economy. The chapters are written in an accessible style and deal with practical subjects, including employment security, workplace change and productivity, and working time.
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Chapter 8: Collective Bargaining in Transition: Measuring the Effects of Collective Voice in China

Chang Hee Lee and Mingwei Liu


Chang Hee Lee and Mingwei Liu 8.1 INTRODUCTION In recent years, there have been significant developments in industrial relations in China – including a successful campaign to organize Wal-Mart and other MNCs, adoption of ‘pro-worker’ Labour Contract Law and other regulations, and the expansion of collective bargaining coverage. However, at the same time, many hold sceptical views on the effectiveness of trade unions and industrial relations in China, which lack fundamental rights such as freedom of association and the right to strike. So we have a rather complex – often contradictory – picture of trade unions and industrial relations in China. This chapter attempts to give some preliminary answers to the question – what do unions do in China? Given the importance of labour market developments in China for the global economy and labour market, it is a crucial question to ask. At the same time, given the diversity, complexity and pace of change, it is a question beset with pitfalls. In this chapter, we try to find some answers, with a full knowledge of the risks involved, by reviewing previous quantitative surveys and case studies, and also through our own recent survey of workplace industrial relations in China. In the following section (8.2), we will describe recent changes in industrial relations, to set the institutional context of our analytical attempt to measure effects of trade unions and collective bargaining in China. In section 8.3 we clarify a number of methodological issues associated with quantitative analysis of trade unions and collective bargaining in China....

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