Philippe Martinez (trade unionist)

Philippe Martinez (born 1 April 1961 in Suresnes, Seine department) is a French trade unionist. He has been the general secretary of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) since 2015.

Philippe Martinez
Philippe Martinez in 2015
General Secretary of the General Confederation of Labour
Assumed office
February 3, 2015
Preceded byThierry Lepaon
Personal details
Born (1961-04-01) April 1, 1961 (age 59)
Suresnes, Seine
OccupationTechnician in the metalworking industry


Early lifeEdit

His father, born at La Plaine Saint-Denis [fr] in France, fought in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.[1][2][3] Philippe Martinez's mother comes from Santander in northern Spain.[1][3]

Philippe Martinez attended school in Rueil-Malmaison, west of Paris.[4] He engaged into politics as a high school student, first joining the Young Communist Movement and later the French Communist Party.[2][3][5]

Professional careerEdit

A technician in the metalworking industry, he worked for the Renault factory of Boulogne-Billancourt from 1982,[6] before he was transferred to the Center for Motor Research at Rueil-Malmaison.[7]

A union member since 1984,[8] he became the CGT central union delegate at Renault.[9]

He left the French Communist Party in 2002 since he disagreed with Robert Hue who wanted to disestablish the Party's sections inside the companies.[10]

In 2008, Martinez was elected general secretary of the Metalworkers' Federation (FTM-CGT),[6] the third largest federation within the CGT with 60,000 members.[11] In this respect, he negotiated with the employers within the scope of the reorganisation of the automotive industry, thus showing his ability to discuss by containing the most radical elements of his union.[8]

In 2013, he was elected a member of the CGT executive committee.[6]

General secretary of the CGTEdit

Even if he was foreseen to become the general secretary of the union, Martinez was unknown to the public.[12] Even though his team was seen as too close to the previous leading team, it was elected with 57.5 percent of the votes of the National Confederal Committee. Martinez's partner Nathalie Gamiochipi, who was appointed to call for votes against Martinez, decided to support him with the votes of the CGT Santé,[4][13][14] the second largest federation of the CGT with 75,000 members. Martinez was elected general secretary of the CGT[6] by the National Confederal Committee on February 3, 2015 with 93.4 percent of the votes,[4] and was confirmed to that position by the congress of Marseille in April 2016, after he travelled across France during one year to meet the local sections of the union to strengthen his popularity.[8]

Even though Martinez embodies the grassroots and the radical line of the union,[4] he is open for labour relations and supportive of the traditional strategy of the union, according to newspapers Le Figaro and Libération.[9][15] However, according to Les Echos, Martinez being no longer a member of the Communist Party since 2002, he has been the "first [such] general secretary of the CGT since 1946", which shows a "a further step in the detachment of both organisations", even though Martinez did not become supportive of social-democracy.[10][16] Moreover, Martinez is the first technician, not worker, to lead the union.

Philippe Martinez in 2017.

To take account of the growing influence of the ultra-left in the union, Martinez took on a hard line of struggle against employers and liberalism, notably against the Valls government by demanding the withdrawal of the 2016 Labour reform bill, to which the CGT became the main opponent.[8] Demonstrations were accompanied by blockades of refineries, repetitive strikes in the transport sector, and stoppage of nuclear power plants, which threatened the smooth running of the UEFA Euro 2016 in France.[8] The Filpac-CGT (Federation of Workers of the Book, Paper and Communications Industry), demanded that all national daily newspapers publish a column of Philippe Martinez —called La modernité, c’est le progrès social, pas la loi travail ! ("Modernity is Social Progress, not Labour Law!")—, for them to be printed out.[17][18] Only the newspaper L'Humanité published the tribune,[19] and the Filipac voted a strike to stop printing the newspapers, which aroused criticism from newspaper leaders and the national daily press union (SPQN), in the name of freedom of the press.[20][21][22]

Faced with the internal oppositions and the decreasing importance of the CGT in the staff representatives elections, this anti-establishment opinion could enable the union to unify the militants and draw benefit from the left-wing voters' dissatisfaction toward the Socialist Party government.[8]

Martinez was re-elected as the general secretary of the CGT during the union's 51st congress in Marseille in April 2016.[23]

Under Martinez's chairmanship, in March 2017, the CGT became the second most important union in the private sector after the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT).[24] However, it remained the largest union in small businesses and in the Civil Service and therefore remained the largest organisation among all wage earners.[25]

Under Martinez's direction, the CGT organised a 36-day strike in the first semester 2018 against the government's reform plans of the SNCF.[26]

In May 2019, Martinez was re-elected general secretary of the CGT during the 52nd congress in Dijon. He was the only candidate to his own succession and was re-elected with 90.65 percent of votes.[27]


When he was elected the general secretary of the CGT, Martinez proposed to reduce the weekly work time to 32 hours to enable the creation of four million new jobs.[28][29][30] He also supports a €1800 gross monthly minimum wage, a 60 years old retirement age, and opposes the payment of dividends to shareholders.[31]

Between the two rounds of the 2017 French presidential election between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, Martinez claimed he wanted "Macron to have the highest possible score" against the National Front candidate, thereby overstepping the original position of the GGT.[32]

Martinez supported the welcoming of migrants several time: for instance in 2018, he claimed that it was France's "duty" to "welcome them all" and considered as "scandalous" the government's decision to distinguish economic migrants from refugees.[33]

Private lifeEdit

Martinez lives with Nathalie Gamiochipi, former general secretary of the CGT Santé, the second largest federation of the CGT with 75,000 members.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Demonpion, Denis (October 19, 2015). "Moustache et lutte des classes : 10 choses à savoir sur Philippe Martinez, le patron de la CGT". Le Nouvel Obs (in French).
  2. ^ a b Briere, Christelle (May 24, 2016). "Blocage-essence. Qui est vraiment Philippe Martinez, le patron de la CGT ?". VSD (in French).
  3. ^ a b c Cailhol, Amandine (March 11, 2011). "Philippe Martinez. Nouveau velu". Libération (in French).
  4. ^ a b c d Laurent, Agnès (April 13, 2015). "CGT: Philippe Martinez, la gueule de l'emploi". (in French). Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  5. ^ "Ce que nous savez sûrement pas sur Philippe Martinez, l'homme fort de la CGT". Capital (in French). May 25, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d "Philippe Martinez élu secrétaire général de la CGT". Le Monde (in French). February 3, 2015.
  7. ^ Housson, Yves (February 4, 2015). "Philippe Martinez De Billancourt à Montreuil, parcours d'un métallo". L'Humanité (in French).
  8. ^ a b c d e f Crouzel, Cécile (May 25, 2016). "Philippe Martinez, l'homme qui veut mettre la France à genoux". Le Figaro (in French).
  9. ^ a b Crouzel, Cécile (January 13, 2015). "Philippe Martinez, nouvel homme clé de la CGT". Le Figaro. ISSN 0182-5852.
  10. ^ a b de Comarmond, Leïla (February 3, 2015). "CGT : Philippe Martinez, un pragmatique qui cultive une image de dur". Les Échos (in French). ISSN 0153-4831.
  11. ^ AFP (February 3, 2015). "Philippe Martinez, un " métallo " à la tête de la CGT". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved February 3, 2015..
  12. ^ Godon, Pierre (February 4, 2015). "Moustache, mystère et main de fer : qui est Philippe Martinez, le nouveau secrétaire général de la CGT ?" (in French). France Télévisions. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  13. ^ de Comarmond, Leila (March 27, 2015). "CGT santé : la direction sortante balayée". Les Echos (in French).
  14. ^ "CGT : la compagne de Martinez, le nouveau patron, limogée". Le Parisien (in French). March 28, 2015.
  15. ^ Roussel, Frédérique; Peillon, Luc (February 3, 2015). "Philippe Martinez, un orthodoxe à la barre de la CGT". Libération (in French). ISSN 0335-1793.
  16. ^ À partir de 1945, Léon Jouhaux partage la fonction de secrétaire général avec le communiste Benoît Frachon, à qui il remet sa démission le 19 décembre 1947 : voir Andolfatto, Dominique (2007). "Les syndicats en France". Études de la Documentation française (in French) (5260).
  17. ^ "Comment la Filpac-CGT a bloqué la parution des journaux nationaux jeudi". Libération (in French). May 26, 2016.
  18. ^ Vampouille, Thomas (May 26, 2016). "Après l'échec de son chantage, la CGT bloque les quotidiens nationaux". Marianne (in French).
  19. ^ Debouté, Alexandre (May 26, 2016). "Les quotidiens nationaux victimes d'un chantage de la CGT". Le Figaro (in French).
  20. ^ Goanec, Mathilde; Hajdenberg, Michaël; Israel, Dan (May 26, 2016). "Liberté de la presse: la CGT n'imprime pas". Mediapart (in French).
  21. ^ "Pourquoi la CGT empêche la presse de paraître". Le Point (in French). May 26, 2016.
  22. ^ "Censure de la presse : la CGT en pleine dérive dictatoriale". Valeurs actuelles (in French). May 26, 2016.
  23. ^ "Philippe Martinez réélu à la tête d'une "CGT déterminée"" (in French). April 22, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  24. ^ "La CFDT détrône la CGT et devient le premier syndicat national dans le privé". Le Figaro (in French). March 31, 2017.
  25. ^ "Représentativité syndicale (CGT)". L'Humanité (in French). March 31, 2017.
  26. ^ "Martinez: grève "massive" à la SNCF, il faut "repartir d'une feuille blanche"". L'Express (in French). April 3, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  27. ^ "Réélu à la tête de la CGT Philippe Martinez appelle au " rassemblement "". Libération (in French). May 17, 2019.
  28. ^ Lenglet, François (February 6, 2015). "Travail : le leader de la CGT Philippe Martinez plaide pour la semaine de 32 heures" (in French). RTL.
  29. ^ "A peine élu à la tête de la CGT, Philippe Martinez plaide pour les 32 heures". Challenges (in French). February 5, 2015.
  30. ^ "Pour la CGT, passer à 32 heures est une nécessité" (in French). October 13, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  31. ^ "Philippe Martinez met en garde une CGT qui " ne doit pas se refermer sur elle-même "". Le Monde (in French). May 13, 2019. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  32. ^ "Martinez souhaite que « Macron fasse le score le plus haut possible". Le Monde (in French). May 5, 2017.
  33. ^ "Migrants: il faut "les accueillir tous" pour Martinez". (in French). January 15, 2018. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. Retrieved December 27, 2019.

External linksEdit