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

TitleBeyond the Union-Centred Approach: A Critical Evaluation of Recent Trade Union Elections in China
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHui, Elaine Sio-ieng, and Chan, Chris King- Chi
JournalBritish Journal of Industrial Relations
VolumeArticle first published online: 1 DEC 2014
Date Published2014
KeywordsChina, strike-driven elections, strikes, union democracy, union elections
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-centered 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 labor — 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.

URLhttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjir.12111/abstract