The workplace institution of the 'workers' congress' has a long but staggering history in the People's Republic of China. Recently, the system has been revived in an enhanced form in order to give worker participation in enterprise management a new vitality. The congress is intended to buttress the practice of self-management in the factory as the Chinese economy moves closer towards the Yugoslav model of 'market socialism'. But it is questionable how much the party has abandoned its hegemonic control under the present attempt to superimpose the workers congress on the pre-existent authority structure of 'parly leadership and director accountability'. And other problems may be envisaged. This paper makes an exploratory enquiry into these problems and suggests that they may be compared to those that constrain the operation of the 'works council' formula in eastern Europe.
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This article examines how industrial relations have evolved during the last 10 years since Hong Kong became a special administrative region (SAR) in the People's Republic of China (PRC). There have been recent signs that Hong Kong workers may seek to more vigorously defend their collective interests and articulate their demands for protecting their wages and employment conditions. This was illustrated recently by an almost unprecedented case of worker militancy waged by the bar benders in a declining branch of the building and construction industry. This article examines the degree to which this case exemplifies the post-1997 industrial relations in Hong Kong, and suggests that the SAR administration should pay greater attention to the grassroot grievances among workers in Hong Kong.
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