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Globalisation, market reform, and changing labour politics in China's automobile industry

Published Online:pp 440-454

This paper explores current labour politics in the Chinese automobile industry under the influence of globalisation and market reform. It argues that the widely adopted practice of labour force dualism with the combination of formal and temporary workers in the Chinese automobile industry has led to a 'hybrid' factory regime that combines 'hegemonic' and 'despotic' elements. 'Hegemonic' relations have been established between management and formal workers, while 'despotic' labour control characterises the conditions of work for temporary workers. The empirical data used in this paper were collected through field research at four large automobile Joint Ventures (JVs) and two major State-Owned auto Enterprises (SOEs) in China during the summer of 2004 and 2005.


Chinese automobile industry, labour relations, factory regime, labour force dualism, globalisation, market reform, employment security, working conditions, contracts, hegemonic building, trade unions, party factory committees, government policy, production geography, China, automotive joint ventures, state owned enterprises