Labor court elections: record abstention

Topical issue burning right now: the Labor Court elections were held today.

Despite (or because of) an unprecedented media hype, the abstention rate is very important, even more so than in 2002, which is saying a lot.

The forecasts were bleak: nearly seven out of ten voters (69%) would abstain, or vote blank or nil, in the labor tribunal elections on Wednesday, a figure comparable to the record of abstaining from the previous election in 2002 (67, 3%), according to a CSA survey (see article on Les Echos website).

Reality followed these forecasts since at 17 hours, less than 20% of the employed voters had come to vote. Only optimistic note: increasing the participation of employers in the vote.

The reasons for this are numerous and explain why the abstention rate has been climbing steadily for 30 years: from 36.8% in 1979 to 67.3% in 2002 (election figures are available here ).

The first and foremost of these reasons is the blatant discrepancy between the "normal" objective expected from this vote: to elect non-professional magistrates to say and enforce labor law and the stated objective of the unions: to evaluate the report between unions and "the road ahead to retain or obtain the right to negotiate a social agreement".

As recalls the newspaper Le Monde in this article on their website, "the elections prud'homales that take place Wednesday, December 3 are primarily political and identity.At this occasion, each union wants to demonstrate its influence with some 18 million private sector employees invited to vote. "

According to Force Ouvrière Secretary General Jean-Claude Mailly, "the elections will have a political impact, it will be a stage of representativeness".

That's the whole problem. Trade unions make labor court elections only a political affair, with more bizarre claims than others, while it should not be that. When applying for a position of candidate, the future industrial tribunal counselors should first of all bear in mind the heavy responsibility they will have, for several years, in adjudicating labor law disputes that are sometimes legally complex and often humanly very painful for the parties. .

It should be remembered that the labor councilors, in their role as judges, must be impartial and adhere to the strict application of the law.

The slogans to encourage people to vote seem to forget him, some pearls:

  • CFTC: "to be able to oppose, always to propose": CFTC commits itself for fairer wages, for employee participation in company decisions, for the right to health, for a respectful working time private life …
  • CGT: "the CGT, a force at your side". To vote CGT, it is to send the clearest message to the government and the employers to support the claims …
  • CFR-CGC: "the most unionist": the CFE-CGC defends your quality of life, your purchasing power and your rights.
  • CFDT: "because you are entitled to respect"
  • UNSA: "Our role is to defend you, so that you are on a level playing field with your employers.
  • FO: "do not remain speechless, do not remain without choice, vote FO".

Reading the "programs" of each of these union lists, you will have noticed the general impression that we vote for anything and everything, but probably not to elect magistrates.

Yet this is what happens in the end with all the consequences that we know and that I have already reported, for example, in the article on an ordinary hearing at the Conseil des Prud'hommes in PARIS .

The (dysfunctional) functioning of this Council has made it possible to open a dialogue in the form of comments or emails with several labor councilors and trade union advocates, which will be the subject of a future article, supplemented by a another on the problem of the legitimacy of the prud'homal advisers and the specificity of the French tribunal prud'homale.

Addition: the abstention rate is 74.5%, nearly three out of four voters who have not been voted.