Social and Economic Committee: Presentation

The social and economic committee is the result of a merger of the current representative bodies, namely the Works Council, the staff delegates, and the CHSCT. These 3 bodies will eventually disappear, i.e. on January 1, 2020. For the moment, companies required to organize professional elections can either choose the format of the social and economic committee (CSE) immediately or decide to extend at most one year, of current mandates.

The social and economic committee, a mega-personnel body

For sure, this super staff body is going to have its work cut out for it. In addition to having all the prerogatives previously distributed among 3 staff bodies, it will experience a reduction in its resources and a reorganization of its fields of action. Thus, with equal numbers, the number of CSE delegates will decrease as will the level of their delegation hours. We will not have to be idle and above all, it becomes necessary to properly distribute tasks so that everyone works on behalf of the social and economic committee, according to their type of expertise.
It is not the time to talk about involving elected officials as much as possible; given the scale of the mission, everyone is called to participate. Otherwise, elected officials will not do the job and employees will pay the price.

The Social and Economic Committee is a legal entity

The social and economic committee must provide its operating rules in real internal regulations. Like any legal entity, its actions are subject to various rules (Labor Code, Civil & Penal Code, Social Security Code, Consumer Code, etc.). The CSE can take legal action against anyone who obstructs its operation, but it can also answer for its actions if necessary. Being a legal entity also means having real legal and financial autonomy. The social and economic committee can own property, manage budgets, purchase products and services, hire the services of an expert, etc. This is what gives it a certain authority and allows it to act independently of the employer, although this body is located within a company. It is therefore crucial to provide its members with the necessary expertise to calmly approach their missions in good conditions. For this, there are training courses for the social and economic committee.

This committee is informed and consulted

A true forum for social dialogue, the social and economic committee is regularly informed and consulted on economic and social matters. CSE elected officials during ordinary meetings are invited to talk about the duration of working hours and the organization, working conditions and related hygiene issues, economic successes and potential failures of the company, professionalization of employees, GPEC, etc. In certain cases, the elected representatives of the CSE provide an opinion on the management of the company. This is the case, for example, when they are consulted on the company’s strategic orientations or its employment policy. This notice constitutes the only legal tool allowing them to indicate their support or opposition to the employer’s project.
Although this opinion is advisory, it can largely influence the decision that the employer ultimately makes. The CSE’s opinion must not be relegated to a simple administrative and legal formality.

But the CSE is also…

A body geared towards employees; it works alongside them to offer them social events such as group outings, organized trips, access to ticketing at preferential rates, etc. Indeed, a mission inherited from the works council, the social and cultural activities of the social and economic committee are more essential than ever for employees. Here again, the CSE will have to think about what it is proposing. The offer is plentiful, but the interest is not always there. These social activities aim to unite employees to promote social bonds and help the most deprived. A mission born in 1941 and taken up in the 1945 ordinance. Let us hope that the birth of the CSE does not cause more than 75 years of social history to disappear!

Ghulam Muhammad

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