Sunday, February 27, 2011

Books on Trade Unions and Labour Movements in Asia

This is a list of books focusing on trade unions and labour movements in various Asian countries:

Building Ships and Building a Nation: Korea's Democratic Unionism under Park Chung Hee by Nam Hwasook. Building Ships, Building a Nation examines the rise and fall, during the rule of Park Chung Hee (1961-79), of the combative labour union at the Korea Shipbuilding and Engineering Corporation (KSEC), which was Korea's largest shipyard until Hyundai appeared on the scene in the early 1970s. Drawing on the union's extraordinary and extensive archive, Hwasook Nam focuses on the perceptions, attitudes, and discourses of the mostly male heavy-industry workers at the shipyard and on the historical and sociopolitical sources of their militancy. Inspired by legacies of labour activism from the colonial and immediate postcolonial periods, KSEC union workers fought for equality, dignity, and a voice for labour as they struggled to secure a living wage that would support families. The standard view of the South Korean labour movement sees little connection between the immediate postwar era and the period since the 1970s and largely denies positive legacies coming from the period of Japanese colonialism in Korea. Contrary to this conventional view, Nam charts the importance of these historical legacies and argues that the massive mobilization of workers in the postwar years, even though it ended in defeat, had a major impact on the labour movement in the following decades.

The Political Character of the Indonesian Trade Union Movement by Tedjasukmana Iskandar. 2009 reprint of the 1958 Cornell account of the Indonesian Trade Union movement by a former Minister of Labour and Labour Party Vice-Chairman. The first chapter overviews the history of the trade union movement and its present (1957) state. The many different ideologies and backgrounds of the Trade Unions are discussed and Marxist-democratic and Communist identifications described. The entrenched political character and the national and international political activities of the Unions are the subjects of the last two chapters.

Workers and Intellectuals: NGOs, Trade Unions and the Indonesian Labour Movement by Michele Ford. After decades of repression, Indonesia's independent labour movement re-emerged in the late 1990s led by the NGO activists and students who organised industrial workers and spoke on their behalf. Worker-led trade unions returned to centre stage in 1998 when Suharto's authoritarian regime crumbled and labour NGO activists and their organisations continued to play an influential - and often controversial - part in the reconstruction of the labour movement. This book explores how middle-class activists struggled to define their place in a movement shaped by more than a century of fierce debate about the role of non-worker intellectuals. Drawing on extensive interviews, this book documents the resurgence of labour activism and explains how activists and workers perceived the position of NGOs in relation to workers and trade unions.

Trade Unions in Asia: An Economic and Sociological Analysis edited by John Benson and Ying Zhu. Offering a comprehensive account of the role of trade unions in Asia today, this book, put together by two editors who have published extensively in the areas of business and economics in Asia, covers all the important Asian economies: both developed and developing. Making a vital contribution to the very small amount of literature that has been published on this topic, this book focuses, in particular on how trade unions have organised to represent workers and the strategies they have adopted. It discusses the issues surrounding wages and working conditions, health and safety, women's employment opportunities and human resource development, in the context of the major regional economies, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, India, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

In Pursuit of Fair Play: Reminiscences of a Malaysian Trade Unionist by K. George. This is a compilation of outspoken articles written 2005-2007 by K. George (b. 1922) a leading and doughty veteran Malaysian trade unionist. Many different and ongoing problems are raised. These include: labour and religious issues, official abuses, corruption and crimes; human rights derelictions and abuses; discriminatory economic deprivations; the vendettas against Anwar Ibrahim; and dilemmas of Indian Malaysians.

Winning Against the Odds: The Labour Research Unit in NTUC's Founding by S.R. Nathan. President S.R. Nathan (b. 1924) has had a career of many different chapters. Here he writes of the 1961-65 period when as a civil servant he was transferred to work in the Labour Research Unit, a new body designed to support and deal with problems of the non-Communist trade unions and their members. Mr Nathan writes of his involvement with arbitration procedures and structural changes as well as with labour reorganisation. He was also involved in Singapore unions' relations with the ILO and the Communist-influenced international labour movement. Light is shed on political and social issues of the time, including the major achievements of the late Devan Nair, the 1964 Singapore Afro-Asian Labour Conference, and the 1964 founding of the NTUC. With archival photographs, appended articles on post-1965 changes, and index.

No comments:

Post a Comment