Staff and Workers' Representative Congress: An Institutionalized Channel for Expressioni of Employees' Interests?

M.E. Sharpe
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Journal Article
Chinese Sociology and Anthropology, 2005, 1, 37 (4), pp. 6 - 33
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This article cites data based on a large survey conducted by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions in 1997, which showed that the workers in Chinese enterprises identified with the staff and workers' representative councils (SWRCs) to a greater degree than commonly recognized; the SWRCs being the basic workplace institutions for the democratic management of China's state and collective enterprises. The staff and workers' representative congress, often known as workers' councils in other former socialist states, is a generic institution of the socialist system. The research showed that workers' positive evaluation of the SWRCs and the trade unions was correlated with better occupational health and fewer industrial accidents. Above all, the power of the SWRCs versus management in the Chinese collective enterprises supersedes that of all other models, in its capacity to evaluate and even to dismiss managers. At critical moments in sudden surges of class awareness and of open confrontation, workers do dismiss their managers, though more often than not they encounter opposition from management and local authorities.
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