Abstract : •Central theme
In the context of global economic crisis, public expenditure and national debt are now priorities of European political agenda. In several countries (e.g. Italy, Great Britain), the main financial leverage to reduce public debt is to downsize public sector employment and level down public sector pay. Downsizing means both quantitative and qualitative actions: on the one hand, the notion and aims of public service are discussed, leading to some kind of “outsourcing” (to local authorities, to private sector…); on the other hand, segmentation is growing, organising employment around a three-fold structure : core, periphery and margin (Meyer, 2006). Moreover, as Nosbonne (2013) suggests, employment segmentation is often connected with activities segmentation.
In France, public debates usually focus on the number of civil servants and the characteristics of their regulation, while academics focus on the transformations of the meaning of work in public services, or the elite role in the process of public reforms. The segmentation of public employment is not considered as an issue, neither politically or academically. Yet, French public labour market has hardly ever been characterised by internal market. The actual legal regulation of French civil service was structured in the 1980s: from this moment on, 'non-standard' employment is mentioned in the law, composing a secondary segment on public labour market (Mossé, 2010). But since 2007, the pace of public employment deregulation is speeding up and transforming into a new form of dualism.
This paper aims to point out how recent laws (2005, 2008 and 2012), which have been officially designed to reduce precariousness in public sector, are actually shaping an unusual dualism between civil servants and “non-standard” permanent public workers, and not only between civil servants and non-permanent workers. This paper thus aspires to use recent developments of concepts as dualization (Rueda, 2014; Emmenegger, 2012), (de)regulation and destandardization (Barbier, 2013) to analyse French public labour market.
This paper is based on two categories of materials engaging two distinct methods. Firstly, the deregulation of public employment is analysed trough in-depth analysis of documents and archives. These documents allow us to describe the arguments used during the social negotiation preparing the draft of 2012 Law on public employment, using both archives from civil servants trade unions(pamphlets, internal meeting reports) and from the national ministry of civil service (internal meeting documents and reports). Secondly, we explore the statistical archives of the Ministry of Civil Service to create new datasets on public sector workforce, and show evidence of increasing and variety of use of non-standard employment on public labour market.
We will show that, in France, public sector employment is recomposing from an usual to an unusual dualism, which doesn’t solely oppose core insiders and periphery outsiders. What we call a new type of dualism distinguish/discriminate within permanent civil service workers, between those (“statutory staff”) whose employment regulation offers not only job security but also guaranteed wage progression with seniority, internal vertical possibility … and those (“contractual staff”) who gets job security without any of these advantages.
This results allow us to discuss the three fold structure of public employment (Meyer, 2006), and the interpretation of a combination of public employment segmentation with public activity segmentation (Nosbonne, 2013). In the case of France, we will firstly argue that the very core is now dual, and secondly that this combination of activities and employment segmentation theory do not always suit Government and ministries, in which the segmentation does not concern secondary activities. Lastly, we will try to elaborate an empirical classification of career paths in the public sector, to explore the internal mobility between core and periphery.