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Unions fear voter apathy in vote for labour-relations boards

Latest update : 2008-12-03

French workers and employers cast their ballots to elect new members for the country’s industrial tribunals, in charge of ruling on labour disputes.Trade unions hope France’s workforce will show up en masse, but opinion polls say otherwise.

France 24 (with wires) – Over 19 million French workers and employers are summoned on Wednesday to elect new board members for the country’s industrial tribunals. For trade unions eager to halt a steady downward trend in voter turnout, the election is a key test.

In charge of ruling on labour disputes, France’s conseillers prud’homaux play a key role in managing labour relations. The outcome of Wednesday’s poll will help determine the relative weight of each trade union in the wake of a recent law that has profoundly altered the framework for dialogue between employers and unions.

The CGT, France’s largest union, is hoping the current climate of anxiety and criticisms of the government will encourage disgruntled workers to turn up en masse. Opinion polls, however, predict a turnout similar to the last vote in 2002, when only one in three voters cast their ballot. Nor is Internet voting – being tested for the very first time in the capital, Paris – likely to have much of an impact on voter participation.

Date created : 2008-12-03

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