The Labour Politics of China’s Rural Migrant Workers

Jenny Chan, Mark Selden

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses the Chinese rural migrant workers’ collective struggles within a framework that highlights the deepening of contradictions among labour, capital, and the state. At times of labour crisis, aggrieved workers have taken legal and extra-legal actions to defend their rights and interests in the absence of leadership by trade unions. From 1 January 2015, Guangdong provincial government was compelled to enforce new collective bargaining regulations to regulate labour relations, when an increasing number of workers leveraged their power to disrupt production to demand higher pay and better conditions within the tight delivery deadlines. In addition to discussing the workplace bargaining power at the key nodes in global supply networks, we highlight the impact of demographic changes on the potential increase of the marketplace bargaining power of workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-271
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • ACFTU (All-China Federation of Trade Unions)
  • Chinese rural migrant workers
  • labour laws
  • marketplace bargaining power
  • the state
  • workplace bargaining power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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