the eternal duel between the CGT and the CFDT

Barthelemy Philippe

From December 1 to 8, 5.7 million civil servants are called upon to elect their union representatives for the next four years in the framework of professional elections. If the CGT has already been overtaken by its historic rival in the private sector, will it manage to keep first place in the public service?

At the SNCF, the RATP, among the magistrates… Since the start of the school year, social movements have multiplied in the public service. Until December 8, 5.7 million French civil servants are called upon to vote electronically to elect their union representatives for the next four years. Behind the issue of participation, which fell below 50% for the first time in 2018, there is the eternal duel between the CGT and the CFDT.

Will the CGT keep the first place?

In the private sector, the more reformist CFDT has already overtaken its historical rival. On the other hand, in the public service, the CGT retains first place. Can she keep it after the election? Unlikely according to Dominique Andolfatto, author of several books on French trade unionism. “If there was this shift, it wouldn’t really be a surprise… Since Philippe Martinez is at the head of the CGT, they have lost votes in many organizations”, he admits at the microphone of Europe 1.

“For the past ten years, there has been a decline and a setback, a settling. It is true that this would be somewhat the moral of this election… Civil servants are perhaps becoming more reformist, are less in a radical trade unionism, that being so, it will probably remain one of the two major French trade union organizations,” he acknowledges.

A further decline of the CGT would tarnish the balance sheet of its secretary general, Philippe Martinez. First elected in 2015, he decided not to seek a new mandate at the internal congress of 2023.