Trade Union Radicalism in France: The Renewal of Radicalism in the Context of Crisis and Austerity?
Trade union radicalism has been a significant feature of the union movement in France. French trade unions have historically been divided along political and ideological lines. There have been two ideological traditions, one stemming from the workers’ movement, which produced the Confédération générale du travail (CGT) and Force ouvrière (FO) and the second from social Catholicism, which produced the Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens (CFTC) and the Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT). Outside these traditions unions have formed around specific professions or categories of workers, including the Confédération française de l’encadrement-Confédération générale des cadres (CFE-CGC), formed after the Liberation to represent managers. There are three other union organisations at national level, originating from ideological splits in the major unions: the Union nationale des syndicats autonomes (UNSA), a reformist confederation created in 1994 and considered representative amongst public sector administrative workers; the Fédération syndicale unitaire (FSU), a radical federation also created in 1994 with representative status in education; and Union syndicale – Solidaires, a loosely organised group of mainly radical unions, which comprises the majority of the ‘SUD’ (Solidaires, Unitaires et Démocratiqes) union federations.
The union movement has been split into three categories: the ‘regulationists’, the unions concerned with social regulation, which includes the CFDT, the CFE-CGC, the CFTC and FSU-UNSA; the ‘revendicatif’ (protest) unions, compromising of the CGT and the...
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