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The transition from a command economy to a capitalist market economy has entirely altered the industrial landscape in which Chinese trade unions have to operate. This book focuses on how the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is reforming under current conditions and demonstrates that labour unrest is the principal driving force behind trade union reform in China. Presenting case studies where reform has been largely inspired by the pressure of worker activism from below, the book examines three crucial areas of trade union activity - collective bargaining, labour rights and trade union direct elections - against the background of China’s turbulent industrial relations history.

As well as exploring the principal direction of trade union reform, which has been to channel disputes into juridical forms of dispute resolution sponsored by the State, the book also highlights key examples of more innovative experiments in trade union work. These represent a clear break with past practice and, crucially, have been recognised by both the union and Party leaderships as models for future trade union policy and practice. The book provides both a timely reference point and highlights the road to effective trade union solidarity.

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