Workers in China

AnitaChanCentre for Contemporary Chinese Studies, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne

Comparing regular and agency workers’ working conditions, attitudes and resistance: A case study of Chinese auto joint ventures
Professor Anita Chan
Australian National University

5.30-7.00pm, Thursday, 21 April 2016
Evan Williams Theatre (G03), Richard Berry Building, Monash Road, University of Melbourne

This paper is focused on studying agency workers, a variant of precarious workers in China’s auto industry. Some scholars foresee that these new class of workers, particularly those in the auto industry, will play a leading role in global labor resistance. In this context we conducted a questionnaire survey of 483 regular workers and agency workers of five major auto joint ventures China and compare their work conditions, job satisfaction, and their willingness to take collective actions. Based on these findings we argue that despite the agency workers’ vulnerability and inferior social status, management practices inherited from the Maoist system are able to mitigate any dissatisfaction and their tendency to take militant resistance actions.

Anita Chan is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Political & Social Change Department, Australian National University, and co-editor of The China Journal. She has published 4 authored books, 6 edited books, and approximately a hundred refereed journal papers and edited-book chapters. Her books include Children of Mao: Personality Development and Political Activism in the Red Guard Generation and Chen Village: Revolution to Globalization. Her present research interest focuses on Chinese labor relating to a wide range of issues, including labor standards, occupational health and safety, labor rights, the Chinese and Vietnam trade unions, and comparative labor. Her latest edited volumes include Walmart in China (Cornell University Press, 2011) Labor in Vietnam (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Books, 2011) and Chinese Workers in Comparative Perspective (Cornell University Press, 2015).

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