Workplace Collective Bargaining in Contemporary China


7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


  • Time: 19:00-20:30
  • Date: Wednesday, 9 March 2022
  • Venue: Zoom (Please contact for Zoom details)


During the strike wave of 2010, Guangdong provincial authority began to support trade unions to experiment with workplace union elections and collective bargaining. Drawing data from official documents and ethnographic research in Shenzhen, this talk explains the various practices of workplace collective bargaining in the context of official union reform in Guangdong. By comparing multiple cases of enterprise union collective bargaining, the speaker identifies four models in practice: moderated mobilization, technical negotiation, collective consultation, and managerial domination. By employing the theory of “power resource approach,” the speaker argues that the variation of collective bargaining depends on the dynamic interactions between workers’ power configuration and employers’ perception of business disruption. He further argues that the variation of workplace collective bargaining as uneven labor incorporation in Chinese labor relations institutions is not a transient phenomenon but an institutionalized middle ground.


Lefeng (Frank) Lin joined XJTLU in 2020. As a sociologist, his research and teaching interests fall into three major areas: development, labor and work, and social movements, with a regional emphasis on China. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019.

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