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THE ROLE OF THE ALL CHINA FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR CHINESE WORKERS TODAY

Authors


  • Ruixue Bai is a labor researcher and activist and a member of China Labour Net's editorial board.

Ruixue Bai, P.O. Box 72797, Kowloon Central Post Office, Hong Kong. Telephone: +852-6929-0154. E-mail: brx353@yahoo.com

Abstract

In the context of China's economic reforms and realignment with global capitalism, this article examines the role of the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and its failure to act as a genuine trade union organization. Rather than putting workers' interests and the protection of their rights first, the ACFTU, as an organ of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has largely shifted its agenda in line with that of the Party. The article looks at how this has often meant prioritizing the interests of business over those of labour and how subsequently the ACFTU faces a crisis of legitimacy in the eyes of many workers, who increasingly turn to alternative methods of struggle outside of the officially sanctioned union. While such struggle has alarmed the CCP and has led to apparent attempts at trade union reform, often this has meant little in reality. The article also addresses the changing relations of international trade unions with the ACFTU and challenges unions who are prepared to work more closely with it for giving the ACFTU a false credibility.

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