Continuity and Changes in Employers' Views of French Joint Regulation

Friday, 3 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
TW2.3.02 (Tower Two)
Catherine Vincent, IRES, Noisy-le-Grand, France
Michèle Tallard, CNRS-IRISSO, Paris, France
In France, joint management is the specific and main way of governance in the fields of training and social protection. One of the aims of the creation of joint managed institutions was to set up an autonomous sphere of social regulation that would be controlled neither by the state nor by the market forces. All social actors are devoted to it, mainly employers’ organization: they were the initiators of jointly managed institutions[1]. This means, these organizations could keep controlling these institutions and prevent state interventions as well as trade unions claims.

 This communication follows a collective research in which we investigate the transformation of the main French employer’s organization in the late1990s (CNPF/MEDEF)[2]. We focused on the representativeness of employer’s under the double bind pointed by Streeck (1991), cohesion and influence[3]. This two-fold logic of the employer’s collective action drive to a paradox: cohesion is getting weaker while influence on society getting stronger. These two dimensions are very useful to analyze employer’s collective action and strategies in the Social Insurance system and in the Training system.

 In terms of influence, the employer’s organization objective was to define the scope of the joint system against State action, using the support of all or some trade unions. Then, spreading their perspective of joint managed regulation of Social protection and training, CNPF/MEDEF became the pilot of this process and got an important influence on public policies. In terms of cohesion, the production of a unified employers’ spoke, representing the diversity of employer’s interest, was, for a long period structured by the domination of the industrial sectors federations. More over, in training, this domination was leant on a strong expertise ability or competence.

 In the last two decades, the joint managed institutions are thrown into questions by the contemporary transformations of labour and professional identities (growing precarious work, spreading of individual way of management), the constraints regarding social budget expenditure and the emergence of new forms of welfare state. The objective of this communication is to analyze the transformations of the employers’ organization perspective in the fields of social protection and training. The renewal of employers’ view finds its origin first in the weakening of employers’ industrial federations facing the growing importance of service federations; secondly in a redefining of the actors’ place in these fields (growing importance of the regional level in training and of Financial groups in social protection). These new strains and the fragmentation of the employers’ organizations have consequences on the forms and ways of collective bargaining and governance of joint managed institutions.

[1] IRES (1997), Le paritarisme, institutions et acteurs, n° spécial, La Revue de L’IRES, n° 24

[2] Amossé T., Flocco G., Lefèvre J., Pernot J.M., Petit H., Rey F., Tallard M., Tuschzirer C., Vincent C. (2011), Les organisations patronales, continuités et mutations des formes de représentations du patronat, IRES/DARES, Noisy

[3] Streeck W. (1991), Interest Heterogenity and Organizing Capacity: Two Logics of collective Action ?, in Czada R., Windhoff-Heriter (eds), Political Choice : Institutions, Rules and the limits or Rationality, Campus Verlag, Francfurt, p. 161-198