Dualistic Production Regime and Dualistic Peripheral Workers - The Changing Labor Process and Power Relations In a Chinese State-Owned-Enterprise In The New Era Of Globalization

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: Booth 41
Oral Presentation
Wenjuan JIA , Shanghai University, China
This article explores the changing labor process and power relations in Chinese State-Owned-Enterprise under the influence of the global economy recession and Chinese newly issued “Labor Contract Law”. It depicts the everyday working life of two groups of workers and the dynamics of workplace conflict based on author’s intensive fieldwork during 2010 - 2011 at an old machinery factory, which located in Guangzhou city.

The research finds that, after the contractor teams were invited into the workshop, a new model of labor control - the dualistic production regime - has emerged in a Chinese SOE. The structural positions of different workers were utilized by the managers under this regime. With relative high age and outdated skill, the formal contract workers were disadvantageous in the labor market, so the strategy of indulgent labor control were established for them based on secure employment, basic benefit, but unsecure low wage. Without city Hukou and legal contract, the temporary workers from contractor teams were threaten by the second-class position in city, and the foreman control were imposed on them based on secure wage but unsecure employment . The disparity between core workers and peripheral workers were blurred, both groups of workers were in the similar disadvantage position, and the dualistic peripheral workers were generated in the workplace. Finally, different workers’ expression and reflection were the important elements which reshaped the dualistic production regime. Resistance of the formal contract workers intensified managers’ reliance on the contractor teams, while the toleration of the temporary workers placed themselves in the more marginal position.

From this study, people can better understand the potential and limit of Chinese SOE workers and the likely role they may play in the evolution of labor relations under China’s changing environment.