Funny paradox. While uniting with other unions to fight the pension reform, the CGT offers the face of disunity, with internal dissension increasingly strong for several months. At the origin of the discord, there is the succession of Philippe Martinez, the secretary general, who must pass the hand, during the next congress of his confederation, at the end of March, in Clermont-Ferrand. Marie Buisson is supposed to replace him. But this choice, pushed by the outgoing number one and validated by the executive bodies of the organization, is increasingly contested. It is likely to fuel the debates of the National Confederal Congress (CCN) – the CGT Parliament – which meets on Wednesday 1er and Thursday, February 2.
Difficulties began to arise the moment Mr. Martinez’s decision not to seek re-election became known to the public. It was May 31, 2022, following a leak in The echoes. The economic daily had specified that Mme Buisson would be proposed by the management of the union to become its leader, the election to take place at the end of the Clermont-Ferrand congress.
The fact that the news was revealed by the press caused a lot of annoyance within the organization. The conditions under which the candidacy of Mme Buisson appeared also displeased many officials and activists: “Philippe Martinez took it out of the hat”, according to the formula of a federation boss, who wishes to remain anonymous. Implied: it is an arbitration stopped by the secretary general and some members of his close guard.
“A misogynistic culture”
The method irritated all those who, within the CGT, hold a critical discourse – even opposition – against Mr. Martinez: the federation of railway workers, those of chemistry and energy, several unions departmental – including those of Bouches-du-Rhône and Val-de-Marne, etc. These organizations do not form a perfectly homogeneous whole, in terms of values or strategy, but they come together to denounce, among other things, the authoritarianism which, according to them, prevailed in the appointment of Mme Bush.
The notoriety of Marie Buisson remains low, including among her comrades
Finally, the profile of the runner-up of Mr. Martinez is the subject of questions and negative comments internally. His notoriety remains low, including among his comrades. She has only made a few media appearances in recent months and she leads a federation (that of education-research-culture) whose weight in terms of activists and electoral audience are relatively low. Especially, M.me Buisson played a key role in the group Never Again, which the CGT founded with environmental defenders (Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, etc.). However, a good number of members and executives of the confederation, in particular in industry, question this alliance with associations which plead in favor of an exit from nuclear power and a decarbonisation of the economy, likely threaten thousands of jobs.
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