CGT: the eventful night which saw Sophie Binet succeed Philippe Martinez

CGT: the eventful night which saw Sophie Binet succeed Philippe Martinez

The suspense will have definitely lasted until the end. There were only a few hours left this morning for the authorities of the CGT to agree on a name to succeed Philippe Martinez which could be announced to the nearly 1,000 delegates gathered in congress until this Friday noon. The night was not enough. The situation was unblocked shortly before 8 a.m. The general secretary of the CGT will be neither Marie Buisson nor Céline Verzeletti, but Sophie Binet.

Born in 1982, this former member of the student union Unef and former CPE (senior guidance counselor) has been since 2018, secretary general of Ugict, the Union of engineers, managers and technicians of the CGT. Coming from the Confederal Executive Commission, the extended management of the CGT, she was a referent of the mixed women’s collective, and committed to environmental issues and gender equality. She, who was sidelined by Philippe Martinez, becomes, at 41, the first woman to hold the position of general secretary since the organization was created in 1895.

The drama of his appointment comes after a week of stormy congresses, in the midst of a battle against the pension reform and a few days before an inter-union meeting in Matignon, an invitation proposed by Elisabeth Borne – a meeting where the CGT will be very present, indicated Sophie Binet at the podium of the congress at the end of the morning.

The night was not enough

To understand what has happened over the last twelve hours at the CGT, we must go back to the procedure for appointing the secretary general of the second French confederation. During the congress, the delegates elect an executive committee (EC), an extended management of the central body of a few dozen members (in this case about sixty).

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It is up to this EC to propose a candidate for the post of Secretary General. This or that person must then be elected by the National Confederal Committee (CCN) made up of all the number ones of the departmental federations and unions of the CGT. This CCN is in a way the central parliament, or rather its Senate since it is made up of elected officials.

The delegates elected the members of the executive committee on Wednesday evening, who must have obtained more than 50% of the votes. This was not the case of Olivier Mateu, the secretary general of the Departmental Union of Bouches-du-Rhône, representative of the ultras.

The counting took time, so that the election of the EC was not proclaimed until 11 p.m. Important for the future, without being obviously decisive, the results of the various candidates have not been announced to the delegates and must be announced this Friday morning. The candidate of Philippe Martinez was the worst elected with 57.23% of the votes, far behind the 86.14% of the votes of Sophie Binet.

Marie Buisson, worse chosen

In the wake of this proclamation before the congress, this new EC met to choose a name. She proposed the candidacy of Marie Buisson to the CCN. This is not surprising since, of the 66 members of the executive board, a majority is pro-Buisson.

The problem is that the latter has proven unable to expand its office beyond its supporters. In particular because she has integrated a representative of the food industry. This federation, unfailing support of Philippe Martinez, has two particularities: it is a member of the FSM, a world organization to which a number of dictatorship unions are affiliated (a vice-president is linked to the Iranian Mullahs); its leaders, many of whom have family ties, have run-ins with the law over its financial management.

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Nearly two voices

The CCN was seized, under these conditions, of the candidacy of Marie Buisson. In the context of a vote by mandate, where the number of union members for each organization is therefore taken into account, it was rejected with a score in a pocket handkerchief since it would have lacked two votes.

The EC met again. After a few hours, Marie Buisson left the congress and some say she would have resigned. At 6 am, the instance was still in meeting.

Some insisted on recalling the teacher, who has definitely never succeeded in winning, while the candidacy of Céline Verzeletti, the co-secretary general of the Federal Union of Civil Servants’ Unions, supported so far by nearly 20 federations, divided. Although she obtained a score of 77.95% of the votes in the CE, she did not appear able to be presented to the CCN, the supporters of Marie Buisson being categorically opposed to it.

The situation therefore appeared blocked. Marie Buisson tried to return shortly before 7 a.m. with a new proposal for a confederal office. Without success. In the corridors, some then evoked again the track of a third woman in the person of Sophie Binet. The executive board ended up appointing her. Seized, the CCN elected her in stride.

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