Mr. Souillot, who won 87.68% of the votes cast, has been a member of the confederal bureau since 2015. He was most recently in charge of the organization, the legal sector and the personnel.

In his application letter, Mr. Souillot claims to have joined FO in 1994, to have created his union at Schlumberger in Dijon in 1995, and to have joined FO Métaux in 2008 as Federal Secretary in charge of the steel industry and basic metals. .

Beyond his characteristic “look” – brush cut, horseshoe mustache, ear rings -, Mr. Souillot is little known outside FO, especially since he refused requests from the press before its designation.

Some detractors willingly describe a man of apparatus, aware of all the mysteries and secrets of the organization, propelled to the head of FO thanks to a strategic alliance between the steelworkers and certain Trotskyists, however far apart ideologically.

“He’s a grassroots activist, not an apparatchik,” challenges Confederal Secretary Michel Beaugas, who knows him well. “Just like me, he started in his company union. He knows the field well, and since he became a confederate he knows the organization well, but it’s his job!”, he underlines.

In the spans of the Congress, the railway worker Sébastien Poentis shares this vision: “He is an activist from the base who can understand us well. He has climbed the ranks of the union, he understands all the workings of it well”, says- he to AFP.

– “Fight for places” –

Some are worried about Mr. Souillot’s ability to “embody” the function, such as Christian Grolier, his opponent until Wednesday – he finally withdrew his candidacy. “Given his career, I find it difficult to imagine him in the mandate of secretary general”, he said in April to some journalists, pointing to the lack of experience “of files, of the press, of discussions at Matignon” by M. Souillot.

“I am convinced that he will embody well (…) It will come, everyone said about me, he is austere, we do not know him”, answers Yves Veyrier. “It’s teamwork (…) We are not necessarily alone on the subjects”, he adds.

For Frédéric Homez, boss of FO Métaux, “these are false pretexts”. “The files, it is learned and we work on them,” he told AFP, recalling the role played by Mr. Souillot with the public authorities in the file of the ArcelorMittal factory in Florange.

Last subject of concern for the opponents of Mr. Souillot?: his line, while metallurgy is the spearhead of the “reformist” current of the union, reputed to be more right-wing than the “Trotskyist” and “anarchist” currents, and that Mr. Souillot has the support of Jean-Claude Mailly, the former secretary general who has approached Macronie.

“A class struggle candidate, a place struggle candidate!”, Launched Valérie Plouchard, from the Fnec FP-FO (education and culture), to summarize the battle between MM. Grolier and Souillot.

Fabrice Lerestif (anarchist) also awakened the torpor of the delegates by saying on Tuesday: “I am not united behind the direction of the federation of metallurgy. I am not united behind Jean-Claude Mailly, honorary member of the Federation of Metallurgy and Macron-compatible”.

Mr. Homez answered him sharply from the podium on Wednesday. “We hear a lot of things, you don’t need a support union, you need a union of struggles. But my comrades, you need both,” he replied.

Mr. Souillot will not be “the candidate of the metallurgy”, assured Mr. Homez?: “when one is a candidate, one is no longer part of a federation, one is there to come together”.