Labor Relations in China

by James Nelson, John Reeder



This article focuses on the permanent workers in the 400,000 industrial enterprises which are wholly owned and managed by the state. Chinese labor relations are currently in a period of rapid change which began with the fundamental turn from the Left in economic policies signaled in December of 1978 at the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party. China's recent efforts to modernize have led to growing contact with western firms, not just through trade but also contract production, licensing, and joint ventures. The article presents research and interviews with Chinese managers which provides a picture of labor relations in China that can help managers in the U.S. gain a better understanding of China's managerial environment. In general, workers in the approximately one million collective industrial enterprises and the temporary workers in the state enterprises receive less pay, have less job security and enjoy fewer benefits than do the permanent workers in state enterprises.

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