March 18, 2022

A new single national collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the metallurgy sector will phase in starting 1 January 2023 for the new social protections and 1 January 2024 for all other provisions, including a new job classification system and minimum guaranteed salaries. Signed on 7 February 2022 by four labor unions and the Union of Industries and Trades in Metallurgy (UIMM) on employers’ behalf, the CBA follows negotiations that started in 2016 and aims to modernize the sector. Mercer has prepared an analysis that identifies potential challenges and questions to consider.


The metallurgy sector is vast and includes not only the steel industry but also industries like automotive, telecommunications, aviation, and mining, among others. The new CBA will apply to an estimated 42,000 companies in the UIMM and 1.5 million workers in France. Different CBAs currently distinguish managers and skilled employees (“cadres”) from employees and blue-collar workers (“noncadres”). Companies with sites in different locations may also be subject to multiple agreements. The new CBA will replace several national and 76 local CBAs, another CBA covering cadres and engineers, and one for the steel industry.


Job classification


  • Each job will have to be evaluated using six criteria, including complexity of the activity, required skills, autonomy, contribution, supervision-cooperation and communication. Each of the six criteria will have its required level assessed on a scale of one to 10, resulting in the classification of each job into a new grid with 18 coefficients (from A1 to I18). Cadres will fall into grade F11 or higher.

  • Minimum guaranteed salaries will apply to each of the 18 coefficients and result in improved guaranteed income for more than 75% of employees. The system of guaranteed bonuses and allowances is streamlined to 10 categories.

  • To prepare for 1 January 2024, employers with 50 or more employees will have to consult with employee representatives about the CBA’s job evaluation provisions and application to the organization. Employers must now start to evaluate job roles, prepare to communicate with employees and finalize their organization’s revised classification structure.

Social protections


  • Guaranteed minimum medical insurance will cover different categories (such as medicine, ophthalmology, dental and hospitalization).

  • The CBA provides minimum coverage for life insurance, paid sick leave, long-term disability and other benefits, with differences for cadres and noncadres.

  • Employers must pay a minimum contribution for coverage — 50% for medical and 43% for life and disability, with no differentiation between cadres and noncadres.

  • A minimum schedule of benefits will apply to the indemnity paid on an employee’s retirement, with no distinction between cadres and noncadres.

Specific local issues


  • Local unions and employer organizations must negotiate issues specific to certain localities (which the CBA did not address) by 30 June 2022.

Related resources


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Charles-Antoine Roger
by Charles-Antoine Roger

Partner, Mercer Region Market Development

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Fiona Webster
by Fiona Webster

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

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