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Global Challenges and Local Responses

Unions in the Korean and Malaysian Auto Industries

Peter Wad

Copenhagen Discussion Paper 2005/003 44 s.
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

The paper aims to address the question whether the dynamic of autoworker unionism in South Korea and Malaysia was conditioned by, and eventually also influenced the globalization processes in the local auto industry? The conclusion is a contextualized "yes", and the core argument is the following: The financial crisis in 1997 was the dramatic peak of financial globalization in East Asia in the 1990s, and it did accelerate the existing trend in Korea towards centralized unionism in the auto industry, while it suspended the trend in the Malaysian auto industry towards decentralized unionism. Although the Korean and Malaysian unions were affected by the financial crisis from different structural and strategic positions, and were exposed to different national policies and corporate strategies of crisis management, the Korean unions and Malaysian unions generally followed, respectively, a more radical and militant and a more pragmatic and moderate strategy. In the global-local perspective we face two paradoxes.