Marilyne Poulain, or years of defense of migrant workers

The one who has brought thousands of regularizations leaving his duties within the CGT, worn. His know-how was appreciated in companies and ministries.


We are early 2020, in the old -fashioned premises of the CGT of 19 e arrondissement of Paris. A hundred men tightened in a meeting room. They are Malis, Mauritanians, Senegalese … Delivers, divers, rippers … all workers. All undocumented. Soon, they will leave the shadows and demand their bosses to accompany their request for regularization before the Ministry of the Interior. The woman seated in the midst of them – the only one in this assembly – and that they almost listen religiously to explain to them how to organize a strike stake is Marilyne Poulain. It is the CGT referent on migrant workers, member of the Confederal Directorate of the Syndicate. For the men facing her, she is “Marilyne”, the one whose telephone number has been circulating for years in the homes of migrants, because it has made it possible to regularize such a parent, such a friend, such knowledge.

During her fourteen years of union engagement, they are thousands of files that she followed, according to the weekly and routine permanence for undocumented CGT in Paris or by the movements of More ferocious strike, like, in recent years, that of the hairdressers of the Château-d’Eau district, that of the Malian maneuvers of the site on avenue de Breteuil, or that of the night cleaners of the Burger King restaurants. Emeline Zougbédé, sociologist and volunteer at the permanence of the undocumented CGT, considers that Marilyne Poulain “embodied and installed the question of undocumented workers in the public debate when the figure of the economic migrant is criticized”.

On July 13, at the age of 45, the trade unionist nevertheless resigned from all her mandates to the CGT (she remains a member of the union). The same day, on social networks, where she shares her political considerations, her literary favorites as the photos of her cat, she wrote about this “difficult decision”, motivated by her “exhaustion” but also her bitterness Faced with internal divisions to his parent company, the “paternalism” of some, the difficulty of denouncing an “authoritarian and sexist climate” which reigns in places. His message earned him an SMS from Secretary General Philippe Martinez, worried about the image of the CGT. “If that’s all you remember, what to say …” replied, disappointed, the interested party.

During the starting pot organized on July 6 at the Paris Labor Stock Exchange, a heterogeneous assembly had come to salute the trade unionist, made up of senior civil servants in the tie, activists from the start – including the former number one Bernard Thibault -, lawyers, journalists, director Romain Goupil, actress Brigitte Rouan and of course, former undocumented workers.

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/Media reports.