The idea was born, at the end of 2018, from the petition of around ten thirty-something who wanted to mobilize employees for the climate and whose initiative quickly gathered hundreds across France. “In the workshops that followed, we asked ourselves what was the best way to make our voices heard on the ecological transition in our companies: this is how the idea of creating a union that addresses the ecological question was born”, says Maxime Blondeau, one of the co-founders of Printemps Écologique.
At the start of 2020, with 3,000 claimed supporters, the statutes of the first branch unions were filed, bringing together 50 to 60 employees of all ages, sometimes former union executives anxious to make room for ecology in social dialogue. The objective of the Ecological Spring is to create 21 before the end of the year, in order to have the two years of legal existence necessary to present candidates in companies for the next cycle of professional elections, at the end of 2022- early 2023.
A first trial run, before the next cycle (2027-2028), where the environmental union hopes to reach 8% allowing it to become representative at the national level. An ambitious goal, but one that Maxime Blondeau considers realistic. “70% of employees say they want to do more for the ecological transition in their company without succeeding: if we manage to touch even 2 or 3%, we could succeed in our bet”, he explains, while refusing to compete with large power plants. “We do not want to take market share from existing unions but rather to seek the 93% of employees who are not unionized”, he says.
This Thursday, the Ecological Spring is launching a national appeal, supported by a host of environmental associations and NGOs, some, such as France Nature Environnement or Oxfam, being already engaged in initiatives launched by well-established power plants such as the CGT or the CFDT. “The associations have tried to make us participate in these initiatives but it is not easy, because we are still embryonic “, recognizes Maxime Blondeau. Hence, in order to exist, the challenge of representativeness for the young union, which in September obtained its first elected representatives in a digital company: after a merger, it had to appoint its first employee representatives.