“Historical” is the first word that comes to the mouth of Amélie Henri, CFE-CGC union delegate to describe the results of the latest professional elections at EDF which fell on Monday evening. His union has in fact just climbed to the top of the electrician podium, dethroning the CGT which has occupied this place continuously for 77 years.
If the shift is historic, the trend left little doubt. Election after election, the radical center saw its hegemony eroded, notably by the CFE-CGC. The latter went from 25% of the votes in 2016 to 29% in 2019 and finally 33% this year. At the same time, the CGT fell from 35% to 30%. Behind, the positions remain unchanged with CFDT in third position and slight decline at 17% and FO fourth, stable at 15%.
For Amélie Henri, this progress is, unsurprisingly, the fruit of “the commitment of our delegates in recent years. A period during which EDF was tormented with subjects such as electricity prices, pension reform...,” she underlines. Another part of the explanation is also found in the evolution of the profile of the electricity giant’s employees. Low-skilled workers, the heart of the CGT electorate, have gradually given way to supervisors and executives, for whom the CFE-CGC wants to be the voice.
It is still too early to determine how this change in status will influence social dialogue within the public company which had 137,000 employees in France in 2022. On the side of the new number one we assure that we want to arrive with “a non- dogmatic” and we hope for “a change in the outlook of employers and stakeholders”, compared to the bygone era of the CGT. However, the presidency of the central CSE is not entirely guaranteed to him. An election between the delegates must still take place and although the CFE-CGC took first place, it did not have the majority of votes.
The future relationship between the unions within EDF will also be closely scrutinized. Particularly between the old and the new leader who together represent nearly 65% of the votes. On the CFE-CGC side, we say we want to “remain humble in victory” and “continue to work within a strong inter-union”, assures the union delegate, while saying lucidly that “the situation must be extremely difficult to live with for the CGT”.