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Different Demands, Varying Responses: Local Government Responses to Workers’ Collective Actions in South China

  • Yujeong Yang (a1) and Wei Chen (a2)

Abstract

While Chinese local governments remain extremely wary of workers’ collective actions, they do not always suppress them; sometimes, they tolerate such actions and even seek to placate workers. What accounts for these different government responses to workers’ collective actions? Based on a sample of over 1,491 collective action cases that took place in Guangdong between 2011 and 2016, we find that the types of demands raised by workers during collective actions affect how local governments respond. Local governments are likely to forcefully intervene in collective actions in which workers make defensive claims concerning issues of payment. In contrast, local governments are likely to use non-forceful approaches in response to actions in which workers make defensive claims regarding social security.

虽然中国地方政府仍保持对工人集体行动的高度警觉,但他们并非总是打压工人的行动。地方政府有时反而会默许工人行动,甚至采取怀柔策略安抚工人。究竟有哪些原因可以解释政府回应工人集体行动的不同方式?基于一份2011年至2016年发生在广东省1,491起工人集体行动案件的样本,我们发现工人集体行动中所提出的诉求类型会影响地方政府作出何种反应。当工人们提出涉及薪酬类的防御性诉求时,地方政府更可能会强力干预工人集体行动。相反,地方政府更可能采取非强制性策略来回应工人行动中涉及社会保险类的防御性诉求。

Copyright

Corresponding author

Email: njuchenwei@nju.edu.cn (corresponding author).

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Keywords

Different Demands, Varying Responses: Local Government Responses to Workers’ Collective Actions in South China

  • Yujeong Yang (a1) and Wei Chen (a2)

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