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Strike in education: what do teachers’ unions really weigh?



In debates on education, the idea that trade unions play a key role frequently comes up. Some see in them a precious counter-power. Others denounce their taste for immobility, their ability to block any hint of reform… But what do they really weigh at the start of 2022, marked by renewed mobilization and against a backdrop of clumsy management of the health crisis?

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“We are far from the situation observed in the 1960s, when a single union, the FEN, concentrated up to 75% of teachers and 50% of secondary school teachers”, recalls Laurent Frajerman, associate researcher at the University of Paris 1, specialist in teacher engagement. However, he points out, “the unionisation rate, close to 30%, remains much higher in education than in the other sectors of the public service and than within private companies”.

The fantasy of “co-management”

Laurent Frajerman brushes aside the fantasy of unofficial “co-management” of national education. “The unions have been able to put forward proposals but have never succeeded in imposing their agenda. They are more of a reaction force.he analyzes. “This has been all the more true under the current five-year term since Jean-Michel Blanquer, like Emmanuel Macron, has not always recognized unions or other intermediary bodies as partners”deplores Senator LR of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Max Brisson.

Admittedly, this former inspector general does not hesitate to scold “the conservatism embodied, under the guise of progressivism, by some of the teaching organizations”. But he observes with regret that the Minister of Education has also largely alienated the “reformist” unions such as Sgen-CFDT and Unsa.

“We wanted to get the unions out the door, they come back through the window. »

At the head of Snes, Sophie Vénétitay recalls for her part that the government has sought to weaken the unions, in education in particular, by putting an end to their participation in joint joint commissions responsible for the advancement and transfer of personal.

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The general secretary also recognizes that her union, which has the majority in secondary education (57,000 members, out of 488,000 teachers), has sometimes been “hustled by the Blanquer bulldozer”. But, she argues, “The success of the mobilization of January 13, launched by all the organizations and education bodies, shows that we still have to reckon with the unions. » And Laurent Frajerman to confirm, less than a year from the professional elections of December 2022: “We wanted to get the unions out the door, they come back through the window. »

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