New dynamics of industrial conflicts in China: causes, expressions and resolution alternatives

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The industrialization and marketization of the contemporary Chinese economy since the 1980s has been accompanied by a rising level of conflicts between the workers and employers in both the private and public sector. If industrial conflicts in western economies have increasingly been expressed in less radical, more indirect and more individualized forms due to their changing political and economic climate (Bamber et al. 2011, Roche and Teague 2011), then expressions of labour discontent in China are becoming bolder, more frequent and more aggressive (Chan 2001, Gries and Rosen 2004, Lee 2007, Perry and Selden 2010). For example, in the mid-2000s, rural migrant workers voted with their feet en masse in protest against exploitation. In the late 2000s, they turned to the legal channels to seek justice following the enactment of the Labour Contract Law (LCL) and the Labour Disputes Mediation and Arbitration Law (LDMAL) in 2008. In 2010, emboldened workers organized their own strikes to demand higher wages and better working conditions in foreign-funded manufacturers. The materialization of these labour rights has been aided, amongst other conditions, by tightening labour markets since the mid-2000s.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Forms and Expressions of Conflict at Work
EditorsGregor Gall
Place of PublicationBasingstoke UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781137304483
ISBN (Print)9781349335800
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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