The rate of trade union membership in the private sector in France is approximately 5%.
The main trade union organisations are: the CGT(General Confederation of Labour), the CFDT (French Democratic Confederation of Labour), FO (Force ouvrière), CFTC (French Confederation of Christian Workers) and the CFE-CGC (French Confederation of Management – General Confederation of Executives). In order to be “representative”, a trade union has to meet 7 criteria including obtaining at least 10% of the votes cast during a first round of professional elections (8% at the level of the professional branch and at the inter-professional level).
It acts within professional branches and companies to defend workers’ interests and rights:
Each representative trade union in a company or an establishment of at least 50 employees can appoint a shop steward. Shop stewards are appointed for an indefinite period and represent the trade union to which they belong as well as negotiating collective agreements. Staff delegates are elected in companies with 11 or more employees. Their powers and responsibilities are laid down in the Labour Code, and in certain cases they take on tasks and responsibilties normally mandated to works councils, health and safety at work committees and shop stewards.
Text last edited on: 03/2010
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