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Labour relations in China's socialist market economy: The operation of the labour dispute mediation and arbitration system 1987-1996

Oakley, Sheila (2000) Labour relations in China's socialist market economy: The operation of the labour dispute mediation and arbitration system 1987-1996. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

The current trend towards globalisation would suggest that labour relations in China will increasingly resemble the market model which developed in the West in the two hundred years since the Industrial Revolution in Britain. However, claims by Chinese labour commentators that a specifically Chinese, socialist, market model of labour relations is emerging in China in the wake of market reform are supported by arguments which reject the inevitability of a globalised world, citing the political significance of the individual state and the enduring strength of cultural bonds.

This thesis argues that an analysis of the operation of the labour dispute mediation and arbitration system established in 1987 indicates that labour relations in China can best be understood as a variant of the market model of labour relations, skewed by Maoist remnants and cultural factors which sometimes soften and sometimes amplify the impact of market forces within the Chinese workplace.

The information from which the conclusions in this work are drawn derives mainly from officially published collections of labour dispute cases aimed at legal officers, para-legal personnel, union officials, and others engaged directly or indirectly in the resolution of labour disputes. The data provided are used to identify the stated causes, the methods of resolution and the final outcomes of labour disputes which reach the formal dispute resolution system.

The dissertation begins by considering the market model of labour relations and the cases for and against the inevitability of the globalisation of the model. The following chapter looks at non-market influences on labour relations in China. Causes, resolution methods and outcomes of labour disputes are analysed separately in the next three chapters, with reference in each case to evidence of market, Maoist and Confucian features and influences. The conclusion drawn from this analysis is that, although Confucian ideals and Maoist hangovers continue to impact on the development and resolution of labour disputes in post reform China, market forces exert the strongest influence.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Inquiry
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Wright, Tim and Sargeson, Sally
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50867
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