Tripartite consultation in China: A first step towards collective bargaining?


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Tripartite consultation has become widely established in China and is often referred to as “collective bargaining” by the Government and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. This article reviews its development and structure, and examines its role in dispute settlement, labour regulation and collective bargaining. China's tripartite consultation system is found to differ from that advocated by the ILO due to its lack of neutrality and independent workers’ representation, poor legal enforcement of consultation outcomes, and restricted responsibilities. Notwithstanding these major deficiencies, the authors conclude, such tripartite consultation is a first step towards more genuine collective bargaining.