The CFDT is preparing for crucial hours. Professional Thursday elections in the SNCF will indeed represent for a major test, nine months after the agreement with the Government on pensions, which triggered an internal storm and burst the inter-trade union front. CÃ©dÃ©tistes railway constituted one of the bastions of the frond inside at the secession in November of the General Federation of transport and equipment (FGTE). This time, beyond activists spheres, it is the whole of the railway staff who is called upon to determine. With, for issue, watermark, the modernization project of the French Union landscape that intends to bring the CFDT. For it, strong and 18.5 of the votes collected in the elections of 2002 at the SNCF but weakened by defections since then, it is imperative to limit the damage Thursday, after recent setbacks registered in EDF, Giat, in health or even last week, the Ministry of economy and finance.
At Confederation, it seeks to minimize the impact of the crisis triggered by the record of the pensions. At the end of February, the number of departures of members would not have exceeded the 13,000. Not more than in 1988, when the opponents of the Confederal line, from the post and telecommunications and health, were parties form the ranks of South. Out of the question, therefore, for FranÃ§ois ChÃ©rÃ¨que, the Secretary General of the Organization, modify the cap. The speech is that of reformism. "We want to transform the society since our place in the company, through negotiation." "Our role is not to propose a global project by substituting political parties", he insists. In the eyes of the current leaders of the CFDT, this position is part of the continuity of the historical direction of the Union, but since at least the "refocusing" hired by Edmond Mayor in 1978. But this strategy has a more innovative corollary: the desire to impose as a true mass organization. The displayed objective is to increase the number of members of 900,000 to 1.2 million. The public sector remains a claimed field of development. "It does there will be no strong CFDT without the public service and public services, where we are today underrepresented", insists FranÃ§ois ChÃ©rÃ¨que.
In reality, the central development a brighter reservoir: the private sector. About 60 of its members already derived a figure that grows with regularity. "It tends to bring closer us to the sociology of the active population and responds to our desire to be the most representative as possible of the world of work", welcomed Annie Thomas, National Secretary in charge of education, vocational training and women. In fact, in the private activists, the matter of pensions did little waves. "Our Federation is that the faster, increase with growth of 4 in 2003." "Our industries have a strong practice of compromise," says RÃ©gis Versavaud, the head of the domestic insurance of the Federation of services (trade, cleanliness, security, tourism...), which brings together some 80,000 members.
The crisis of 2003 will have had at least one merit: puncture abscess by pushing themselves towards the exit. This clarification has in particular concerned close members of the extreme left, whose hostility to the Confederal line remained clear, despite calm climate of the Congress of Nantes in the spring of 2002 which led FranÃ§ois ChÃ©rÃ¨que at the head of the Central. So far, all the ambiguities are lifted. The Directorate's policy is still grind teeth. Thus, even after the massive departure of railway soul States persist in the FGTE. "We continue to have issues of divergence with the Confederation." We articulate differently the power relations and negotiation. "By accepting as it has done the compromise on pensions, it went against the position of the majority of our members and departed brutally Inter-Union platform of January 2003," complains without outspoken Joel Le Coq, the new Secretary General of the Federation.
Some are almost open conflict, such as the SGEN-CFDT teachers. "The shock wave persists." The episode of pensions caused trauma. He has developed our activists at odds, at a time where a unitary movement grew in national Education. "It has also revealed a problem of communication and internal democracy," said Jean-Luc Villeneuve, SGEN-CFDT Secretary General. It only has however not for the moment the leap rupture. He practised a kind of critical wait, prior to its Congress in May. However, hundreds of activists have already taken the background individually powder and leading teams of two departmental unions, Alpes-Maritimes and Haute-Loire, have defected.
Beyond the matter of pensions, the runners, but also many internal opponents criticize FranÃ§ois ChÃ©rÃ¨que of having renounced any desire industrial plant. "The CFDT has lost its ability to reflect and to anticipate." "In relying on the place in organizations such as the CNAM or the Unedic, it has become an institutional structure where career made", launches a former member of the Executive commission today made the difference. Some stigmatize real confiscation of power. "Means obtained from the mass of the members are placed at the service of the apparatus and its permanent." No one can climb in the Organization be accepted by the base, but also sponsored by the higher level, which allows tracks to any junk. "Closer to such operation of the democratic centralism within the CGT in the past, even if the ideology is different", and accuses Jean-Louis Lefranc, former Secretary General of the CFDT Union lyonnais energy and relationship CFDT gas of France, today joined South. "The current direction, going beyond the movement initiated by Nicole Notat, has waived any project idea clean to adhere to the ideas of enlightened employers", turns on the other hand the political scientist Rene Mouriaux, specialist in labour history.
One thing is certain however: FranÃ§ois ChÃ©rÃ¨que and his followers firmly hold the reins of the Organization, despite the harassment of minority and a form of more intellectual resistance, in some circles as the Saint-Simon Foundation. At the headquarters of the Confederation, on a beautiful game to point out that, if there is a challenge, it emanates from activists intermediate circles and not from the ranks of the leadership, still less members of base. It also stressed the importance of great reflection on the internal democracy launched in the fall. But the mood is not so with unbridled optimism. Because each knows that the most difficult challenge for the direction of the CFDT is not master his domestic opposition, but to understand its positions to the mass of employees.