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HRM / OB Case Study

Case Title:

Wal-Mart's Tryst with China's Trade Union: Partner or Problem?

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: P Jain and S Prasad

Industry: Retailing


Case Code: HRM0080IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment:  Not Available

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Wal-Mart, ever since commencement of its operations in China, was firmly and consistently opposing unions in its stores in line with its human resource policy. However, after recognising that the unions in China were different from those elsewhere, and after several negotiations and also under labour pressure, Wal-Mart had relented and entered in to an agreement with the All-China Federation of Trade Union (ACFTU), to permit unions of workers in its stores. The case focuses on the impact of this agreement on Wal-Mart, and also on foreign invested enterprises (FIE), the role of the ACFTU and the steps taken by ACFTU for unionisation of Wal-Mart. The case also discusses the implications of the new labour laws proposed in China for FIEs. The case will help teach students about the role of the trade union in a corporate setting.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the role of the trade union in China.
  • To understand the impact of the trade union agreement between Wal-Mart and ACFTU.
  • To understand the implication of the union agreement on Wal-Mart's global front.

Keywords :  Wal-Mart, All-China Federation of Trade Union (ACFTU), Chinese labour laws, China, Retail, Foreign invested enterprises, Human resource (HR) policies, New labour laws, Bargaining power, Migrant workers, Unionisation, Grass roots technology

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