Chinese Labor Relations
Labor relations in China have become more and more complex, labor conflicts have occurred frequently, and thus labor disputes have been growing with a rate much faster than that of the development of GDP in the past decade. They could become a potential obstacle to the economic development if not appropriately managed. The paper studies the condition of labor relations, and probes the profound reasons for it, and compares it across the world in order to give a description for it. 1. CONDITION OF LABOR RELATIONS IN CHINA
Since the mid of 1990s, accompanied with the deepening of economy reform of China, most social and economic relationships have been undergoing formidable transformation and the social and living style of some community have been greatly changed. The creation of new glossaries such as rural workers, lay-off, work, reemployment reflected the transformation of the period. The simple and harmonic labor relation between the state-owned enterprises and the workers in the system of planned economy has been gradually substituted by that between the employees and the employers of various of different ownerships, underlying the transformation of labor conflicts. The development of labor conflicts could be evidenced by the growing of labor disputes. In accordance with the China Labor Statistical Yearbook, from 1995 to 2012 the labor disputes had grown by 6.9 times, from 33 thousand to 260 thousand per year with an annual growing rate of 31.05 percent, which was 3.6 times the average growing rate of GOP of 8.7 percent at the same time. In this period, accompanied with the deepening of reform of state-owned enterprises, and the constant development of economy within non-public section, the variation of labor relations and the emergency of labor conflicts drew public attention. Some scholars, labor unions and national authorities of statistics investigated the labor conditions and published many reports, which offer invaluable information for other people to have a picture of the labor conditions. We have the traditional idea that the labor relations within state-owned enterprises featured low payment and inefficiency, in which the workers had no actual choices, but they had full-scale welfare, therefore the labor relations were relatively harmonious. So, the current studies mainly focused on the labor relations within private, foreign and other non-state-owned enterprises. However the reform of state-owned enterprises has caused significant changes, and eliminated the distinct gap between themselves and other enterprises. Also some practical matters suggested that some emergent collective events had relation with the acute labor relations within state-owned enterprises. Therefore the labor relations within state-owned enterprises should also be given attention. The current research mainly focused on labor contract, working time and working intensity, payment and welfare, and working conditions and so on. It was discovered that many workers have not signed labor contracts with their employers, which was even common for the small and mid sized enterprises where labor competition was more severe. The extension of working time and the increase of work intensity were common for many enterprises. According to a survey into 159 Taiwan-invested enterprises in mainland China by the Urban Investigation Corps of National Bureau of Statistics of China, the weekly working time was about 45 hours, compared to 40 hours stipulated by the Labor Law. It was also discovered that 32 percent of the employees worked more than 48 hours per week. Moreover, the employees could only get the payment similar to that for the normal working time instead of the overtime compensation. As to the payment and welfare, back pay occurred usually. There was great gap between urban and rural employees, as evidenced not only by the payment, but also by the working conditions, working stability and welfare. The explanations for...
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