Labour Research March 2017

European news

Small turnout for small firms

The results of the delayed election for employee representatives covering very small companies in France — with fewer than 11 employees — show no change in the ranking of the competing union confederations. But there has been a substantial drop in numbers voting. 

Employees in these firms were able to vote to choose their union representatives in the first half of January, although the individuals are elected to regional committees rather than having a direct role in the companies themselves as happens in larger companies (see Labour Research, December 2016, page 8). 

As in the previous elections in 2012, the more militant CGT topped the table with 25.1% of the vote followed by the more moderate CFDT, with 15.5%. The FO, which in the past has been allied with both the other confederations, got 13.0%. 

However, all three got many fewer votes (and a smaller share of the votes cast) than four years ago. Overall turnout dropped from 10.4% in 2012, to 7.4% this time. The only confederation to make significant gains was UNSA, a relatively new union grouping, which won the support of 12.5% compared with 7.3% in 2012. 

These elections have only limited significance in themselves. But under the French system they count towards the overall level of support registered by the different confederations. This is important in deciding who has a right to sign agreements at national and industry level.