China is the workshop of the world, and the shift of production to the Far East is the major economic story of the last thirty years. It is one of many reasons that there are fewer manufacturing jobs in the West today. Due to the vast human resources i …

Walton Pantland

China is the workshop of the world, and the shift of production to the Far East is the major economic story of the last thirty years. It is one of many reasons that there are fewer manufacturing jobs in the West today. Due to the vast human resources in China in conjunction with a regulated Chinese economy means that labour costs have been comparatively low. This has been a factor in the global downward pressure on wages along with main protagonist: neoliberalism.

The position of workers in China is of crucial importance to the international labour movement – if wages rise in China, the justification for shifting production East is diminished. Recent years have seen major increases in workers wages with both official unions and unofficial new unions involved in negotiations, disputes and new collective agreements.

What is the role of the new unofficial unions? And what is the effect of this activism on the established unions? What will it mean for the global economy.

As part of a series of events to get different perspectives and achieve a more informed opinion on what is actually going on in China we will be holding a web conference with Eli Friedman. An expert on China, Friedman is assistant professor of International and Comparative Labor at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations school. There will be more to come including the perspectives of experts on China’s official unions and the benefits they have secured for workers.

Date: Tuesday 11 September

Time: 3 pm UK time, 10 am New York

All welcome!

Joining instructions:

On the right side of the home page there is a box called Web Conference, with a drop down list of meeting rooms. Select the meeting called “China”.

Type in your name, and password 123.

Click ‘Join’, and you will be redirected to the web conference.

A window will pop up asking permission to use your web cam and microphone, as well as the opportunity to choose devices and edit preferences. Allow, and click ‘join audio’. If possible, use a head set, as computer speakers can cause feedback.

Your web cam won’t come on automatically. There is a camera icon in the top left hand corner of the screen. If you click that a video window will open with a ‘play’ button at the bottom. If you click that your video will go live.

If you don’t have a web cam and mic, you can still participate by typing questions into the chat box.

You can ask questions by typing them in the chat area to the right of the screen, or by clicking the hand icon.

Please join us – we look forward to speaking to you.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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