State and Laid-Off Workers in Reform China
The Silence and Collective Action of the Retrenched
By Yongshun Cai
Routledge – 2005 – 208 pages
In the 1990s, the Chinese government launched an unprecedented reform of state enterprises, putting tens of millions of people out of work. This empirically rich study calls on comprehensive surveys and interviews, combining quantitative data with qualitative in its examination of the variation in workers' collective action. Cai investigates the difference in interests of and options available to workers that reduce their solidarity, as well as the obstacles that prevent their coordination. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, this book explores the Chinese Government’s policies and how their feedback shaped workers’ incentives and capacity of action.
'Cai's book has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of opportunity constraints that conditioned laid-off workers responses to the restructuring of SOEs. It would be useful not only for those who study the changing labor relations in China's economic transition, but also for those who are interested in popular contention and collective action in general.' - The China Review, Vol 7, No.1
Contents Figures and Tables Acknowledgements Abbreviations 1. Introduction 2. The Ending of a Socialist Contract and Retrenchment 3. Retrenchment and Laid-Off Workers’ Responses 4. Fragmentation and Collective Action 5. Management and Worker Silence 6. Government and the Prevention of Worker Resistance 7. Collective Action of Chinese Laid-off Workers 8. Conclusion Appendix Bibliography
Yongshun Cai is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Social Science at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.