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Seminar Presentation: A History of French Labour – 29.11.17

Today I gave a seminar presentation on the History of French Labour and below is the 15 slide presentation I prepared on Powerpoint for the seminar.   History of French Labour – Seminar 29.11.17   The history, present and future of the French labour movement: continued division, contestation and weakness?   History 1789 Revolution creates a strong Jacobin State, characteristic of the French government until the present day. (An archetypical dirigiste state) Original Revolution plus three subsequent 19th century revolutions (July Monarchy, Second Empire, Third Republic) all tend to use the working class / masses to ignite the fire of revolution but ultimately all favour bourgeois ideals. Industrialization France is relatively late in comparison with its European neighbours to undergo the industrial revolution. When it does industrialize, it maintains a large peasant element in rural areas and the emerging working class are concentrated in certain northern regions and in the big cities The Nature of the French People Due to the Jacobin structure of government, intermediary bodies between the state and the people are not encouraged. Also, the French people have a genuine disinterest in ‘signing-up’ to large groups / organizations although they do have Nationalistic tendencies when it comes to State interests. This leads to the small membership numbers of Trade Unions. Trade Unions 1791 Le Chapelier Law – Outlaws Trade Unions Trade Unions eventually legalized in 1884 Right to strike recognized in 1864, before Unions were legal. Working class solidarity not encouraged at all and there has always been conflict in any attempts for the Labour movement to organize itself. Trade Unions Union membership always been traditionally low, rising to a peak of about a third of employees following 1968 Strikes. Today’s membership figures are only around 7% of workforce. Union membership, however not essential to the way they work in France and their core members are good at propelling the workforce into strike action. Lowest Union density in Western World Collective Bargaining coverage, however, is very high at 95%, much higher than international economic competitors. Trade Unions CGT Confédération Générale du Travail CFTC Confédération Française des Travailleurs Chrétiens CFDT Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail CFE-CGC Confédération Française de l’Encadrement – Confédération Générale des Cadres FO – Force Ouvrière Others – SUD – Solitaires Unitaires Démocratiques –CNT – Confédération Nationale du Travail –FSU – Fédération Syndicale Unitaire   Employers There is a Paternalistic approach to employees Many of…

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World Talk Series – Cardiff University MLANG – Oh Lord, Emmanuel – Macron’s Fall From Grace? By Dr Nick Parsons – 25/10/2017

  Delivered by experts from Cardiff University’s School of Modern Languages, the World Talk Lecture Series is a new series of talks on topics of current interest in various countries around the world.   Dr Nick Parsons – Biography Nick Parsons completed his PhD, comparing French and British industrial relations, at the London School of Economics. After teaching positions in several French and British universities, he joined the French Department in the University of Cardiff in 1991. He is now Reader in French and teaches courses on translation, French politics and the French labour movement. His research interests focus on French and European politics, industrial relations and social policy. He has published many book chapters and journal articles on these issues and is the author of French Industrial Relations in the New World Economy among other titles.   Abstract: In May 2017, Emmanuel Macron won the French presidential elections with a large majority over his far-right rival Marine Le Pen, and his La République en Marche party followed this by securing a large majority in the French parliament. At the time, he was hailed as the saviour of France, and potentially of a Europe confronted with right-wing populism. Just a few months later, however, his popularity has dwindled and he is facing street protests. How can this be explained and what does it mean for his project to reform France and Europe?   Dr Nick Parsons began his talk with an introduction to French President Emmanuel Macron. He said that he just didn’t know what was going to happen to him. Academics find it difficult to predict the future. He cannot understand why the change in French Labour laws has not led to greater strike action as of yet. Macron has a sort of self-projection – He likens himself to some kind of God. Hence the title of the lecture. It is strange to see why somebody who came to power on a wave of adulation should find himself so low in opinion polls. Macron is only 39 years old and entered the Presidential race late on and managed to secure a landslide victory in Parliament. Macron’s victory in 2017 saw him defeat Marine Le Pen in the second round of Presidential elections, winning 66% of the vote. In Parliamentary elections his Party – La République En Marche (LREM) gained an absolute majority in the National Assembly with 308 of…

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