According to the new criteria of representativeness, the CGT is the first trade union in France, but the signatories of the agreement on the reform of the labor market are in the majority.

Unions will now be weighed according to their actual audience. Five years after the adoption of the reform of the criteria of representativeness, the Ministry of Labor published today the weight in votes of employee organizations. This will condition their participation in social negotiations in the future.

At the end of this calculation, the five major trade unions -CGT, CFDT, CGC, CFTC, FO- remain representative at the national level, at least until 2017. The CGT is the first union in France, but the “reformist” unions “, recent signatories of the agreement on securing employment, represent a majority of the votes. Point.

What are these new rules?

The law of August 20, 2008 modified the criteria for trade union representativeness at company, branch and national level. Until then, these criteria were determined by a law of 1950, which cited the membership of the unions, their independence, the contributions, their “experience and seniority” and even their “patriotic attitude during the occupation”.

The CGT, FO, CFTC and CGC were then considered to be representative at the national level, to which was added in 1966 the CFDT, resulting from a split from the CFTC. Since then, the list has not changed. The same unions also benefited from an “irrebuttable presumption” of representativeness in companies during elections, allowing the appointment of a union representative as long as he was affiliated to one of the five major confederations.

The law of August 20, 2008 modified these rules, by making the audience of unions in professional elections the central criterion of their representativeness. Clearly, no employee organization has a guaranteed place at the different levels of negotiation. To be representative in a company, a trade union must have won at least 10% of the votes in the first round; for branch and interprofessional negotiations, this threshold is 8%.

Finally, to be signed, an agreement must have been signed by organizations representing at least 30% of the vote, and not encounter opposition from unions weighing 50% or more of the vote.

Who is representative?

To find out which trade unions are representative at the national level according to the new criteria, it was necessary to “consolidate” the results of the professional elections over the last four years (in companies with 11 or more employees between 2009 and 2012, in VSEs at the end of 2012, for agricultural employees in January 2013). A long-term work whose results were unveiled Friday morning by the Ministry of Labor. These do not upset the trade union landscape, since the five representative unions before the reform remain so after.

With 26.77% of the vote, the CGT is the leading trade union in France, closely followed by the CFDT and its 26%. Next come FO (15.94%), the CGC (9.43%) and the CFTC (9.30)%. Unsa (4.26%) and Sud (3.47%) are not representative at the national level; the other unions total 4.4% of the vote.

The representative unions will then be subject to checks on various criteria: respect for republican values, independence, financial transparency, minimum seniority of two years, influence, numbers and contributions, etc. The final list will then be set by order of the Minister of Labour, and will be valid until the next audience measurement, in 2017.

What consequences?

The CGT is indeed the leading trade union in France: good news for the Confederation, recently attacked for the hardline attitude of some of its representatives in the field and for its wholesale refusal of the interprofessional agreement on securing the ‘job. The CFTC can breathe: while many predicted that it would no longer be representative, it saves its place among the “big” unions – at least until the next elections. The first non-representative unions, Unsa and Sud, are still far from the 8% threshold at the national level.

Another consequence: the signatory unions of the employment agreement -CFDT, CGC, CFTC-reach the required quorum. Admittedly, even in the opposite case, the agreement would have been valid, because it was the old rules that applied when it was signed: it was then enough for a majority of unions, ie three out of five, to sign it. But it would have been symbolically embarrassing for the government if the two non-signatory organizations, CGT and FO, represented more than half of the votes.

This is ultimately not the case: in relative terms – not taking into account non-representative organizations, as is the rule for a national agreement – the two centers weigh “only” 48.85% of the votes.