They and they are united in the fight against pension reform, even if the tone may sometimes differ. On the other hand, the CGT members could well be divided on the designation of the successor to Philippe Martinez at the head of their union. Of the successor more precisely since these are two women who should ultimately confront each other, and very soon: the congress of the central will be held from March 23 to 27 in Clermont-Ferrand.
Philippe Martinez put into orbit last June Marie Buisson, the secretary general of the small Federation of Education, Research and Culture, which has still not succeeded in imposing itself after long months.
Olivier Mateu in difficulty
But until now, she was not really threatened because only another activist had declared himself: Olivier Mateu. The secretary general of the Departmental Union of Bouches-du-Rhône is showing his muscles, but for the moment he is not in a position to be a candidate. This requires being a member of the future executive committee, but for the moment he is not on the list that will be put to the vote.
He also represents the protesting minority of the organization, affiliated to the World Federation of Trade Unions, the former international trade union organization of the trade unions of the communist bloc and which now brings together many dictatorship trade unions. Which makes it a foil for the majority of activists.
Not breaking with the confederal line
Quite different could be the candidacy of Céline Verzeletti, which should be officially announced by the end of the week. This 54-year-old former prison guard, who started out working in the private sector, led the prison administration union for a long time. She is currently co-general secretary of the Federal Union of State Trade Unions CGT.
Her name, alone or in pairs, had been circulating for many months as an alternative to Marie Buisson. Unlike Olivier Mateu, she does not break with the confederal line. Elected to the executive committee of the central (extended management) at the 2013 congress, she entered her confederal office at the same time as Philippe Martinez became secretary general, which has not prevented her in recent months from regularly oppose him. She often represents the plant in the media and rotates in the organization.
The initials of several large federations
“Some organizations think that [ma candidature] would allow a better gathering “within the CGT, declared Céline Verzeletti to the agency AEF on Tuesday. “It seems to bring together the conditions for a broad agreement, a gathering of all the organizations of the CGT, and the possibility of collective work within a solid confederal office and an enlarged EC, built collectively”, affirm many federations in a common text, of which “Les Echos” was aware. A text which should be co-signed in particular by the most important of them, which are health, public services, railway workers, energy and of course, state officials.
The reshuffled cards
Presenting a woman who has the experience of leading the CGT at the highest level cuts the grass under the feet of the supporters of Marie Buisson, who accuse all her detractors of misogyny. By choosing this strategy, the entourage of the runner-up of Philippe Martinez, led by the chief of staff of the number one, Elsa Conseil, did not play the card of the rally but on the contrary stirred up the divisions. The candidacy of Céline Verzeletti therefore reshuffles the cards.
But all is not yet settled. It remains to know how will position the territorial apparatus of the CGT, which are the departmental unions of the central. Organizations more inclined to follow the incumbent general secretary.
That said, the debate in Congress shouldn’t be just a battle of people. The federations also intend to ask the question of the operation of the management of the central and in particular of its democratic dimension or not. This is the meaning of the note which should also be released by the end of the week.