Sala lauree - Univeristà degli Studi di Milano
Via Conservatorio,7 - Milano
15 novembre 2013
in onda dalle 15.15
The fast emerging labour movement in China
Il movimento dei lavoratori in Cina: emergente coscienza di classe, contrattazione collettiva e nuovi rapporti con il management aziendale.
- 3 cap.
THE FAST EMERGING LABOUR MOVEMENT IN CHINA
In May2010, a strike by auto workers at Nanhai Honda made it very clear thatChina’s workers were not passive victims of repression and exploitation. It showed that workers were organized and determined to push for better pay, welfare benefits and working conditions. The Honda strike was a breakthrough but it was not the end of the story. Indeed, three years later, the labour movement has moved on to such an extent that the Honda strike now looks dated.
What has changed?
Workers are developing a stronger sense of class consciousness. This is creating solidarity, enhancing organization and stimulating action in the workplace. With this greater sense of collective identity, workers are more likely to resolve their grievances themselves rather than rely on local government and trade union officials.
What has not changed?
Despite being forced into negotiations by striking workers, the general attitude of management towards collective bargaining remains guarded to say the least and as a result most examples of collective bargaining have so far resulted only in one-off settlements. The next step clearly has to be the creation of a stable and long-term mechanism for workplace-based collective bargaining that can alleviate tensions and benefit both workers and management. There can be no doubt thatChina’s workers are ready for this next stage. In the future it is likely that a proper trade union will emerged, and it will have profound impact on the global economy and the development of the international labour movement.
Han Dongfang has been an advocate for workers’ rights inChina for more than two decades. He first came to international prominence when, as a railway worker in Beijing, he helped set up China’s first independent trade union, the Beijing Autonomous Workers’ Federation (BAWF), during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. He was expelled toHong Kong in 1993, where the following year he set up China Labour Bulletin (CLB). In addition to his work at CLB, Han is on the board of Human Rights inChina, and conducts regular interviews with Chinese workers on Radio Free Asia.