A “Boss” Like Any Other? The Wage Management Policy of the Mutual Health Insurance Company of the French Education System, MGEN (1946–1991)

By Charlotte Siney-Lange

This article examines the wage policy developed by MGEN, the mutual health insurance company of the French educational system, founded in 1946. Today MGEN is the largest health insurance company in France. Since the 1970s, MGEN has experienced unprecedented growth in the numbers of its members, its employees and its medical center affiliates. As a result, the board members of MGEN, former activists from the teachers’ trade-union movement, have had to manage an increasingly large and diverse workforce. Because the board members were trade-unionists, they aimed to create a special relationship between management and employees. Despite their good will, however, these “social bosses” were not spared numerous industrial actions, particularly frequent during the 1970s. This article examines the wage policy implemented by MGEN in order to understand the evolution of personnel management and the impact of these labor conflicts.


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