What is at stake during union elections in the public service

Posted Dec 1 2022 at 7:45 amUpdated 1 Dec. 2022 at 8:09

This Thursday begins the third representativeness elections in the public service since the establishment of this national election, the first edition of which took place in 2014. The electronic vote will be held for 8 days, until December 8, when the paper vote will take place.

The approximately 5.6 million employees, both tenured and contractual, will designate both their representatives in the social committees which deal with collective issues, such as training or working time, and those in the joint administrative committees, whose role in career management has been significantly reduced.

Weighing of union hearings

Everyone will obviously scrutinize the weighing of the union hearings which will be made public at the end of next week. But no one expects an upheaval in the landscape to match that of 2018. Four years ago, the ballot led to a big bang: already past the CGT in the private sector in 2017, the CFDT had become the first French union, private and public alike, thanks to the pursuit by the Philippe Martinez central of its drop in audience among civil servants.

The trade union hierarchy had not, however, been modified in the public service. With 21.8% of the vote, the CGT had retained first place ahead of the CFDT, at 19%, and FO at 18.1%, although its loss of influence continues as in the private sector.

Scores in the hospital public service will be particularly watched. They will give an indicator of the impact on the agents concerned of the measures included in the “Ségur de la santé”, signed by the Laurent Berger central, as well as by FO and Unsa but neither by the CGT, nor by Sud Santé . Above all, they will determine the balance of power in the public service.

It should be remembered that in 2018, Laurent Berger’s central had seen its audience drop by 0.5 points in the hospital, falling to third position there behind FO, leading to a erosion of its audience in the whole of the public service.

The issue of abstention

The evolution of abstention will be the other issue of the ballot in the coming days. This has indeed passed above the symbolic bar of 50% during the last electoral meeting. “We have a very big concern because of the incredible complexity of the electronic voting devices set up in the ministries”, underlines Philippe Grasset, secretary general of the Federation of finances FO.

Most of the ballot will be played behind the screens, at least for almost all state officials. “Some colleagues had still not received their code on Tuesday,” worries an education trade unionist. Not all the administrative structures have chosen the same service provider, some agents will have two codes and two different keys to vote in the two elections which take place at the same time, criticizes a trade unionist from Bercy. According to a tweet published this Thursday morning by the CGT, the Ministry of the Interior finally gave up electronic voting for a reliability problem.

An indicator of the social climate

Beyond this question, the participation of agents will also be an indicator of the social climate that reigns in the public services, while the pension reform is looming. The government has taken care not to light the fuse by abandoning the project to integrate civil servants into the general scheme, but the latter will also suffer from the increase in the legal retirement age.

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