It was a priority for Macron’s five-year term. Just a few months after coming to power, the head of state wanted to quickly reform French labor law by introducing extensive reforms of employee representation bodies. The 2017 ordinances merged the bodies that existed until then – employee representatives, the Health, Safety and Working Conditions Commission (CHSCT), and the Work Council – into one, the CSE, from which the Health, Safety and Working Conditions Commission (CSSCT) was created for the companies where he works the most of 300 employees.
A report submitted in mid-December painted a mixed picture of reform, listing a certain number of “useless” findings: “prolongation of meetings and agendas to deal with all topics, reduced commitment of elected officials, lack of coordination between the SEC” and committees, difficulty of dealing with occupational health and safety issues.” CFDT Secretary General Laurent Berger echoed this Friday, during a press conference. For the government, which regularly ensures that social dialogue is one of its priorities, this assessment a few weeks before the first round of presidential polling is a stone in the pond.
Increasing the centralization of social dialogue
According to him, the reform resulted in a “greater concentration of social dialogue” and a “widespread disappearance of local representatives”, with less effect on the “working realities” of the field and a “traffic jam” of orders. . From the day of CSE.
By agreement, employers could decide with unions to create “local representatives,” but this was optional, so that “less than 5% of companies would have local representatives,” according to Philippe Potter, the CFDT’s national secretary.
“Only 20% of the new bodies (…) were created by agreement,” which resulted in “at least” the new rules in relation to social dialogue being implemented, Mr Berger lamented.
While 75% of employees were “covered” in 2017 by CHSCT, now only 46% are covered by CSSCT, and work health and safety issues are “neglected” to the end.
“The 2017 reform blindly documented employers to achieve the goals stipulated in the decrees, while giving them the means to escape from them. It’s ‘at the same time’ that made the victim, it’s the quality of social dialogue,” he thundered. .
Many representatives of CFDT unions testified to the consequences of reform in their company: for example, at IBM, between 2017 and 2021 the number of bodies decreased from 19 to 3, and the number of annual delegate hours for elected officials. 120,000 to 35,000, explained Helen Boyks.
She concluded that this “reduction in resources” resulted in less proximity to employees and less “efficiency in health issues and working conditions.”
Ten ways to improve
The CFDT suggests several ways to improve, including increasing the number of delegate hours, the possibility of alternatives to attending CSE meetings, the mandatory establishment of local representatives, and the possibility of union contact via professional emails from employees.
A meeting is scheduled between the social partners and the Ministry of Labor on Monday at 5:00 pm to discuss a “plan to support the implementation of the decrees.”
Mr. Berger considered that the meeting, which followed the presentation of the report, was a “too inadequate response” to the questions raised. “All this is not a matter of lack of understanding or accompaniment,” he said, there is a “structural flaw in these orders” that must be corrected.
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