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LABOUR AND THE STATE IN CHINA1
Topic: "The system of industrial relations has developed from one based on state-labour relations to one based on employer-labour relations."IntroductionDiversity, rather than the uniformity, uses to characterise the experiences gathered by differentnations in relation to industrial relations. The current study is developed for focusing on thesystem of industrial relations in China which has developed on the state-labour relationship andemployer-labour relationship. The industrial relations in China have been developed over thepast few decades. The labour market of China has experienced remarkable alterations in the fieldof industrial relations and employment, specifically after its transition to a market economy.China has experienced a significant change in relation to the landscape of its industrial relationsover the past two decades. According to the comment made by Lee et al. (2011), the changes inindustrial relations in China has emerged as a result of ownership diversification for whichproliferation of workers categories with different expectation and needs arises those are neitherofficially recognized nor represented. The dismantling administrative regulation associated withlabour relations by Party–the state was accompanied with the introduction of a new institutionalframework for the industrial relations-related regulation. The industrial relation in China is basedon state-labour relationship and employer-labour relationship whereas labour relations haveplayed the central role in helping China to achieve extraordinary economic growth. China’sextraordinary economic growth was accompanied by internal migration, urbanization, and itspeople’s rising income level. The rising level of income in China has brought a dramatic increasein workers’ aspirations and has forced the government to restructure its relationship with bothworkers and employers. As a result of this, employer-labour relationship and state-labourrelationship build up which strengthened industrial relations in China (Poole, 2013). DiscussionSince the year 1978, China has been engaged in a large-scale overhaul of the country's economywhere marketisation has played a vital role in making decisions in relation to products of serviceallocation. Industrial relations rooted from the industrial society which includes separation offactory owners and workers those who engaged in productive activities in exchange for wages2
and there is a relationship between owners (employer) and workers. The basic focus of industrialrelations is to set labour price between employer and worker which is determined byenvironmental and institutional factors (Page, 2017). The participants of industry relations inChina are the employer, worker, state, and trade unions. In China, there were no arrangements,institutional in nature, for bargaining over labour price but marketisation led the country to adaptfix price for labour. The government of China has changed its role from acting as a labouradministrator to the market-based pattern. This change reflected in two ways, one the Chinesegovernment has transferred the primary authority of labour allocation (termination andrecruitment both) to the company's management by retaining supervisory power on it and thesecond was the government removed its direct control on the system of the income distribution(Taylor, 2012). The second change led the management to decide the wages rate and ways tomake payment of wages to workers. At that time, the partial withdrawal of government fromlabour relations in China within enterprises, it has formulated regulatory laws for managinglabour market and to adjust the country’s labour relations (Taylor et al. 2003). The ownershipreforms in China has improved the country's industrial relations, and its flourishing state-ownedenterprises has reshaped state-labour relations in the country which is one of the two factors orbases onto which china's industrial relations are developed. Moreover, the collusion andcooperation between workers and managers were confining the potentiality of development ofthe state-owned enterprises of China. It was recognised that the constraint of the soft budget hadoperated at a specific point in the industrial reform programme of China, and in 1986 August, theintroduction of labour contracting has initiated the division of individual interests betweenworkers and the managers of factories that was also flourished along with the state-ownedenterprises.Development of labour laws for developing industry relations in ChinaThe emerging trend of the legalization of work and documentation of labour relationship, insteadof only relying upon informal agreement and psychological work contract in China stands as aresult of its changed landscape of labour market and the changes in organisational forms. Thediversification in the ownership forms in China has accelerated growth in the private sector,emerging labour market, and rising number in laid-off workers and unemployment. Formanaging the entire labour market and its movements, and for tackling these issues, a number of3
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