Top French union in crisis as its boss faces exit

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The general secretary of France's leading trade union, the Confédération générale du travail (CGT), could soon be forced out of his job after an embarrassing series of revelations about expensive renovations to his flat and office and a hefty lump sum payment. Many observers believe that despite last-ditch attempts to save his position Thierry Lepaon, who was seen a compromise candidate when he took over the reins of power at the union in March 2013, will soon have to stand down amid growing anger among rank-and-file members following the media disclosures. As Dan Israel reports, Lepaon's rapid fall from grace is a sign of a deeper malaise inside what is still the country's most powerful trade union.

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It could turn out to be one revelation too many. On Tuesday December 2nd, L'Express magazine revealed that the embattled general secretary of French union the Confédération générale du travail (CGT), Thierry Lepaon, had received a pay-off from his old job when he took over control of the union in March 2013. The reason why this severance payment – which Mediapart understands was 31,000 euros – is so damaging for Lepaon is because it was made by the Lower Normandy branch of the CGT. In other words, he received a pay-off for being promoted inside his own union.