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Can the strategy of ?mediate first? reduce collective labor disputes??An empirical test based on province-level panel data from 1999 to 2011

Sunday, 31st August 2015

<div class="page"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>In China, the transformation of economy and the reform of the labor system since the 1980s have seen a large number of collective labor disputes, yet the scale and intensity of these disputes have been effectively controlled. A trend has been observed that those disputes are more and more individualized. Especially since the new century, the size and frequency of collective labor disputes accepted by governmental arbitration institutions gradually decreased. What factors reduced the number of collective labor disputes that were handled by formal dispute resolution channels? Based on provincial-level panel data from 1999 to 2011 and quantitative analysis, this paper finds that in the transition years, the Chinese state actively strengthened various mechanisms to mediate labor disputes, which absorbed and defused the collective struggles of workers. However, these mediations significantly reduced only the scale of the collective labor disputes rather than the frequency of their occurrence. High selectivity of mediation accounts for this phenomenon: authorities focused primarily on the prevention of large-scale disputes and neglected individual or small-scale disputes. This finding responds theoretically to the discussion of the absence of massive labor movements during China<span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'YvfjxgAdvTTb5929f4c+20'">&rsquo;</span>s transition and conceptually highlights the mediator role of the Chinese state, which flexibly eased the struggles of workers. Empirically, this work also discusses why the absolute number of labor disputes in the transition remained stubbornly high and why they were consistently mediated but unsolved.</p><p>Select the link to read this paper in full.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Language: English
Contact: Wenjia Zhuang

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