Why the CGT persists in the strike

Signed by the CFDT and the CFE-CGC, with 56% representativeness between them, the salary agreement at TotalEnergies provides for a 7% increase from November and €3,000 to €6,000 in bonuses. But it is rejected by the CGT whose activists have decided to continue the movement and the blocking of the group’s refineries.

“It is not because a majority agreement could be concluded at the level of a group that it cannot be contested at the level of the company or one of its establishments”, recalls Jean-Marie Pernot, associate researcher at the Institute for Economic and Social Research (1). “Nothing prevents unions from considering that the agreement does not take into account certain specific situations. »

This specialist in trade unionism also underlines the complexity of strike strategies: “When a few workers block a complex industrial process, all of the refinery workers, while continuing to work for their wages, may tacitly support them. »

A desire for openness contested at the CGT

Beyond the refineries, the movement now extends to other sectors which are all bastions of the CGT, nuclear power and transport in particular.

A hard strategy which is explained by the approach of the CGT congress, next March. Its secretary general Philippe Martinez has announced that he wants to hand over on this occasion, and that a woman succeeds him: to succeed him, he therefore pushes the teacher Marie Buisson, secretary general of the Federation Education Culture Research (Ferc-CGT).

But this succession is far from certain. Many, at the CGT, dispute the will of “openness” of the central which, for example, has started to work with environmental organizations like Oxfam or Greenpeace on more societal subjects in the collective “Never again”, including Marie Buisson is precisely one of the animators.

The federations of chemistry and energy at the forefront of the challenge

Among those who criticize this openness include the powerful federations of chemistry (maneuvering today at TotalEnergies) and energy (at EDF), which are not very sympathetic towards environmentalists.

As part of a hard line – this openness, for them, would betray the class struggle – they even joined the World Trade Union Federation (symbol of the Cold War left in 1995 by the CGT), where they sit with the single union North Korean, the Central Workers of Cuba, or the Militant Front of All Workers, linked to the Greek Communist Party still claiming Stalinism…

These internal disputes also explain the mistrust of the CGT vis-à-vis attempts to interfere in the social terrain of La France Insoumise, where the hardliners of the central see a dangerous Trotskyist influence.

“The CGT is united in the struggles”

From July, when Jean-Luc Mélenchon launched the idea of“a great march against the high cost of living”Philippe Martinez warned against the “mix of genres”. “Social mobilizations are the responsibility of trade unions”he insisted.

Also, when the Nupes organizes, without the Communists, its march against the high cost of living, Sunday October 16, the inter-union united around the CGT – joined by Force Ouvrière – will mobilize on Tuesday 18 “for the increase of wages and the defense of the right to strike “.

“Historically, the CGT has always struggled to bring to life a diversity of points of view within it, recognizes Jean-Marie Pernot. The fundamental debate is often avoided, it is the social struggles that play a unifying role: we are united in a spontaneous solidarity that puts differences aside. »

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