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The Road to Anomie: The Rise and Decline of Public Service Unions in France

Abstract : This article attempts to demonstrate that public service industrial relations in France are closely linked to a historical model that has its roots in the construction of the Republican system as early as 1880. The historical resilience of this model distinguishes it sharply from the one developed in the private sector which is much more related to the defence of the industrial working class. Public service unions emerged as a Left political force in the 1920s and still retain this function in the twenty-first century. Since 1946, civil service unions have developed a representation role of a political nature that challenges the political class. This article argues that the specificity of public service industrial relations is connected in France with a political conception of the employment relationship in the civil service. Therefore, new public management has failed to take root. However, unions are facing a serious crisis because they cannot curb the austerity policies pursued by both Right and Left governments. They have been forced to adopt a defensive strategy while civil servants are turning increasingly to the Far Right.
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Submitted on : Sunday, October 24, 2021 - 5:24:17 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 11:44:04 AM

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Luc Rouban. The Road to Anomie: The Rise and Decline of Public Service Unions in France. Labor History, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2018, 59 (1), pp.54 - 70. ⟨10.1080/0023656X.2017.1375595⟩. ⟨hal-03399644⟩

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