The far-left CGT union elects its first woman to lead a fight for pensions

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France’s far-left CGT union has elected its first woman as its leader, two CGT sources told Reuters on Friday.

Sophie Binet, 41, was elected general secretary as a surprise compromise candidate after a long night of deliberations, ahead of Marie Buisson, backed by incumbent leader Philippe Martinez, and Céline Verzeletti, backed by a tougher Union faction.

The CGT press service said it could not confirm Binet’s election until its members were informed.

Binet, a former school supervisor, is the head of the CGT’s UGICT division representing engineers, managers and technical staff and was responsible for equality issues on the union’s executive committee.

She takes control while French unions are in a months-long stalemate with President Emmanuel Macron over pension reform.

The CGT, France’s second largest union, has formed a united front with the more moderate CFDT the first time in years to block the government’s planned increase in the retirement age from two years to 64. Since January, the unions have organized several national days of strikes and demonstrations involving millions of people.

The unions have been invited by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne for talks early next week, but so far the CGT has not said whether it will attend. The unions have said they do not want to discuss other social issues with the government if Macron does not withdraw the pension reform.



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