Revers for Philippe Martinez, on the third day of the congress of the CGT


An amendment was adopted against the opinion of the management, Wednesday, the third day of the congress to re-elect the outgoing secretary general Friday.

By Michel Noblecourt and Raphaëlle Besse Desmoulières Posted yesterday at 22h22

Time to Reading 3 min.

It is a setback suffered, Wednesday, May 15, the outgoing direction of the CGT, the third day of the congress of the plant held until Friday in Dijon. The subject is symbolic but far from neutral: it is the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), the communist trade union that the CGT left in 1995. A hypothetical return of the confederation in this organization which counts in its ranks of the Cuban, North Korean or Iranian unions is debated internally.

Everything seemed under control at the beginning of the afternoon. It is within the framework of the discussions on the international part of the draft guidance document, which fixes the line for the next three years, that this offensive led by the departmental union of Val-de-Marne arose. While some cementist structures, such as the agribusiness federation or the chemical federation, are members of the WFTU, a minority of unions want to question the CGT's membership of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and its the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

On the beginning of the congress: Philippe Martinez warns a CGT that "should not close on itself"

Laurent Berger whistled

ETUC General Secretary Lucas Visentini and ITUC Deputy Secretary General Owen Tudor were greeted politely by the delegates, even though activists sung outside the hall The International, a mark of provocation against organizations deemed reformist. The name of Laurent Berger, the number one of the CFDT, who is about to take the presidency of the ETUC at the congress of the European organization next week in Vienna, has been repeatedly whistled when he was mentioned.

Delegates then proposed an amendment for the CGT to obtain "An observer status at the WFTU" or "A double affiliation" to the Communist International and the ITUC. Others have defended the idea of ​​adding "And the WFTU" at the end of the text:

"For the CGT, it is a question of constantly seeking exchange and unity with all the possible union organizations, affiliated or not with the ETUC and the ITUC. "

But some delegates lamented the confiscation of the debate by the apparatus. It is "Incomprehensible", "Intolerable", assaulted one of them at the podium while the room chanted "The debate, the debate, the debate! ". On behalf of management, Boris Plazzi responded that "The CGT does not observe, it acts", maintaining an ambiguity about the nature of the show of hands that would follow. As for the future ETUC presidency for Mr Berger, he assured that "It's an honorific, symbolic title".


Very quickly, the confusion settled down, the delegates not knowing necessarily on which they had to decide. A first vote suggested that WFTU observer status had been endorsed. After a long suspension of session during which the congress bureau met urgently, a second vote had to be organized. And it is therefore against the opinion of the management that the amendment adding the mention of the WFTU was widely adopted by 469 votes against 294 and a hundred abstentions.

For Philippe Martinez, it is a disavowal. During a meeting with the journalists of the Association of Social Information Journalists on May 7, he had clearly taken a stand against any rapprochement with the WFTU. Had he recognized that there was a debate internally about the links with that organization, he had described it as"Ultra-minority". "I do not think the WFTU is a mass organization, a democratic organization, but that's my vision"he added.

This episode again illustrates the difficulties faced by Mr. Martinez, who must however be re-elected on Friday. The activity report, that is to say the balance sheet of the outgoing management, was adopted Tuesday but with substantial opposition and a slight abstention from the previous congress of Marseille in 2016: among the voters 70.96% voted in favor, 29.04% against; 15.34% of the delegates abstained.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Philippe Martinez weakened, but sure of being reelected at the head of the CGT

Michel Noblecourt and Raphaëlle Besse Desmoulières

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