Symposium on Labor Relations in Beijing
An international symposium on the subject of "Economic reform, social structure and the transformation of labor relations" was held in Beijing on April 20 and 21, 2012.
It was co-hosted by the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (CCTB) and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. More than 20 Chinese scholars and the trade union representatives participated. They came from the CCTB, the National School of Administration, Beijing University, China Institute of Industrial Relations, Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou, Beijing Normal University, as well as from the Beijing Construction Engineering Group. Seven scientists, scholars and specialists from Germany have attended the event, coming from the University of Frankfurt, University of Economics and Law, Berlin and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.
The symposium was opened by Thomas Haendel, member of the European Parliament. Wang Xuedong, Deputy Director of the CCTB and Michael Brie, Director of the Institute for Social Analysis of the German Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung delivered opening speeches on behalf of the two organizers of the symposium. Wang Xuedong pointed out: “It is of important theoretical value and practical significance to explore the issue of economic reform, social structure and the transformation of labor relations in the context of the strong impact on economic- and social developments brought about by the economic globalization and the international financial crisis. The reason that the Chinese- and German scholars are of common concern on this subject is, that we all adhere to the socialist value to pursue social fairness and justice and protect labor rights.”
During the 2-days meeting, participants exchanged theoretical views and experiences on changing patterns of labor relations and their links to economic reform on the one hand, and to social structure as well as to political aspects on the other.
“The surprising parallels between the "old" industrial regions in Europe and the industrial newcomer-countries such as China become visible. Flexibility of employment, growth of labor market relocation in the service sector, penetration of a typical employment, i.e. secondment and also the rapid restructuring of industrial work by the introduction of modern production concepts e.g. lean production and modular production are some important keywords”, remarked Boy Lüthje, professor at the Institute for Social Research, Frankfurt am Main.
A comparative approach for discussion helped to reveal major discrepancies in terms of political systems, political parties and social movements between China and Germany. At the same time common focus areas, new issues and trends in the current changes of labor relations were identified. The market economy in China and Germany are in different stages of development, what has been experienced in Germany, can be a significant point of reference for the current development and future concern in China.
All in all, the symposium has achieved remarkable accomplishments as in-depth exchanges and discussions enabled all participants to gain new knowledge on changing labor relations in general and the specific developments in Germany and China alike.