The emergence of the China as a world superpower has drawn significant attention towards the current state of the Chinese labour market and movement. From its history as a communist country with its doors closed off to the world, China has slowly integrated itself into the world economy, transitioning from a socialist dictatorship towards a capitalist economy. This transition has brought many changes to the way the Chinese conduct business, labour practices and laws that exist and roles that unions play within the society. In this paper briefly look at the current state of the Chinese labour market and the history and evolution of the Chinese labour movement. Secondly, we will look specifically at the Labor Contract Law (LCL) that China invoked in 2008 and compare these to the laws that exist in the developed nations of the United States and the United Kingdom. Lastly, we will look in-depth look at China’s new Labor Mediation and Arbitration Law (LMA), which came into effect on May 1, 2008 and contrast it to the labour dispute resolution systems that currently exist in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Overview of Chinese Labour Market
Employment levels have always been a paramount concern of the Government of China. As the most populace country in the world, China is also home to the largest labour market with an estimated 780 million individuals employed in 2009, and this number has been steadily increasing since 2000 (Zhu, Warner, & Feng, 2011). These figures include both regular employees and migrant employees who have relocated from their rural homes to urban centres in order to find employment. Since 2000, there has been a sudden shift, moving from an oversupply of labour to a shortage of labour, this has increased worker activism, resulting in the state improving labour and employment laws and increasing protections for members of the Chinese workforce. (Zhu, Warner, & Feng, 2011)
History of Chinese Labour Movement
China’s labour movement has...