中国の市場経済化と「工会」改革をめぐる議論 [in Japanese] The Controversy over the Reform of Chinese Trade Unions under Marketization [in Japanese]
Access this Article
Chinese trade unions have been faced with a set of new challenges under marketization. First, they are faced with a decline in their membership that is accompanied by both a rapid increase in the private sector and by the restructuring of state-owned enterprises. Secondly, an increase in labor-management conflicts among the 'working class' is occurring and needs to be managed more effectively in terms of practical day-to-day operations and in the equally important arena of ideology. These new conditions have made some union cadres and scholars clearly recognize the necessity for revitalization of trade unions as a distinct interest group of laborers. The discussions on the fundamental reforms, including the reforms of the personnel and financial management systems of the trade unions, have been heated.<br>This paper focuses on the controversies surrounding the general membership, the cadre management and financial management systems, and categorizes them into a passive reform approach and a drastic reform approach.<br>The aim of a passive reform approach is to enlarge the roles of the trade unions as interest groups, while maintaining relations with and their position as a part of the party and thegovernment. The proponents of this approach argue that trade union membership should be open not only to management staff of state-owned enterprises but also to private entrepreneurs who are now redefined as responsible parties to build socialism according to the' Three Represent' theory. Regarding the trade union cadre management system, this approach advocates letting vice-party chairpersons or vice-administrative managers serve as chairpersons of basic-level trade unions concurrently in order to elevate the position of the trade unions. As for financial matters, this approach proposes to commission the tax revenue department to collect union dues from enterprises in order to solve the problem of non-payment and it even proposes to redefine the union dues as 'workers' rights and interests protection tax'.<br>Unlike passive reform, the aim of a drastic reform approach is to make the trade unions more independent from the party and the government by separating personnel and financialmanagement systems. In order to facilitate and support them to better represent and protect bluecollar workers' interests, this approach precludes private entrepreneurs or management staff of state-owned enterprises from being union members. Regarding the cadre management systems, the drastic reform approach opposes letting entrepreneurs and their relatives and even the management of state-owned enterprises become committee members of basic-level trade unions.Direct elections of chairpersons of basic-level trade unions; the establishment by local-level trade unions of a cadre-bank to send appropriate staff to basic levels; and recruiting local trade union committee members based on examinations, are notable examples of drastic reforms that aim to empower the unions to manage their own cadres independently of the party and the government.Moreover, proponents of the drastic reform approach feel that the trade unions should not depend financially on enterprises but should rely only on their membership fees. And they are also negative about asking the tax revenue departments to collect union dues as it may confuse financial affairs of trade unions with administrative financial affairs.<br>The trade union reform movement seems to be advancing very slowly, caught in a cleft stick between these two approaches. However, the controversies contain significant policy arguments which could generate tremors to shake the foundations of national ideology and the one-party system.
- Asian Studies
Asian Studies 52(1), 1-18, 2006
Japan Association for Asian Studies