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Study of the history of labour inspection associations (end of 20th-beginning of 21st centuries)

Contract with the Ministère du travail (2017-2020) | CERMES3
Coordinator: Vincent Viet, CERMES3

During the 1980s, labour inspectors took the initiative of creating associations of labour inspection. The Villermé association was founded in 1982, then the L611-10 association some time later. These initiatives took place in the context of upheavals in the world of work, the implementation of the Auroux Laws where inspection played a specific role, and the desire of these public officials to develop their professional practice, as well as labour inspection in general.

Over a twenty year period, these associations have reflected on the job of labour inspector by comparing themselves to outside actors. Composed of monitoring personnel, the associations were able to involve other actors such as academics, magistrates, trade unionists or risk preventers, and labour inspectors from other European countries. Each in its own way, these associations have been involved in the public debate on work and employment, and of course, on the public service of inspection.

The purpose of the study is to analyse the history of these two associations by placing them within the history of labour inspection and of the Labour Ministry, to understand the reasons for their emergence as well as their respective evolution, to determine the similarities and the differences that divide them, to evaluate their impact within administrative services and the relationships they have maintained with supervisory staff, the Labour Ministry and the inspection unions. These include emphasizing what these associations have brought to labour inspection and the policies carried out by the ministry, without of course neglecting the possible limits of their action.

With the goal of stimulating reflection by the various actors on the role and mode of intervention of the public service of labour inspection in our country, a correspondence is proposed with the reform of the labour inspectorate initiated in 2014 and currently being implemented.

The study is based on all of the following:

  • forty interviews with monitoring personnel having belonged, or not, to these associations, ministry management personnel or executives, influential persons having had contact with the associations;
  • archives kept by the above-mentioned associations;
  • and, when necessary, on scientific and unpublished literature.

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