From the late seventies to the year 2003, an internal opposition existed at the heart of the CFDT’s ranks. While somewhat amorphous at first, it grew into an official, organized network in 1996 when it created both an association and a journal named Tous ensemble. Regrouping factions critical towards the direction of the organization, this opposition positioned itself, first and foremost, on a programmatic level promoting the CFDT’s specific heritage and history, and defending the legitimacy of various directions already chosen. In this context, union training courses were an important issue for the internal opposition, yet they never were a strategic priority. Indeed, even though the main oppositional structures were aware of the political ends that the reorganization of the training system by the confederation could serve, they chose different approaches, investing various levels of resources, adopting disparate measures and benefitting from unequal levels of autonomy. Beyond this inequality of resources and situations, a common conception of training and its benefits appears: one which endows activists with the tools to understand the global social and economical issues at stake, including a political stance regarding trade unionism.
Training Courses as a Resource for the CFDT’s Internal Opposition from the Early 1980s to 2003By Sophie Béroud