Main-d'oeuvre Kayes Niger (1906-1918)
|© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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M. Delmotte has stopped labor recruitment in Côte d'Ivoire because of unspecified difficulties. He claimed that more workers were still needed for the "Railway, Travaux Publics, TSF et Ravitaillement" (TSF refers to the radio transmission station). Brunet asks the Commandant de Cercle de Mossi to find workers willing to go to Bamako on 6-month contracts for one franc per day (including rations) and 15 francs of travel money (30 days @ 0.50 franc/day). The contract would run from December to May during the period when they were accustomed to go to Gold Coast to look for work.
The railroad requested the following men for 1919:
|Section||permanent laborers||"exceptionnelle" laborers|
This letter authorizes the purchase of salt from Timbuktu for use in railroad workers rations. 350 kilograms would sustain 250 workers for four months, so that amounts to about 10 grams of salt per worker per day.
The following table shows a list of telegrams from various Commandants du Cercle to the Gouverneur du Haut- Sénégal-Niger describing contingents of forced laborers who were sent to work on railroad construction in 1918.
|Cercle||Date of telegram||# of workers||note|
|Sikasso||June 26, 1918||0||nobody wants to work for the railroad|
|Bougouni||June 24, 1918||0||needed everyone to work as porters|
|Bamako||July 8, 1918||50|
|San||September 1918||50||3-month contracts|
|Bamako||September 12, 1918||52||3-month contracts|
|Bobo||September 14, 1918||36|| all from the village of Boueni
including the foreman
|Dédougou||September 14, 1918||14|
|Bobo||September 18, 1918||120|
|Sikasso||December 9, 1918||80|
This letter described the problems with local recruitment for workers on the Kati-Bamako stretch of the Bamako. The railroad needed 220 more workers. The Directeur du Chemin de Fer suggested trying to retain current workers, but warned that this was only possible if all promises to workers were fulfilled.
Only one man, Alexandre Diallo, offered to work for the railroad. Diallo was an interpreter, a mediocre scribe, and a graduate of l'Ecole Pinet-Laprade.
This is one of a series of letters and telegrams concerning two employees who wanted the government to help their wives come and live with them. There was a lot of confusion because the government confused the name of the wives and their villages, then had to have their marital status confirmed and found that at least one was not legally married.
This concerns the extension of current contracts by forced laborers. Workers from Bobo Dioulasso were willing to extend their contracts for 2 months in exchange for a 0.30 franc/day raise (to 1 franc plus 0.30 franc rations). Workers from Minianké (Koutiala) wanted the same pay raise and have their wives come to live with them, in exchange for accepting a two month extension on their contracts.
This is a list of the names of 150 workers from Ouagadougou (Haute Volta). They left Ouagadougou with 6-month contracts on February 12, 1919. They came from the provinces of Baloum (35 laborers), Ouidi (30), Gounga (30) and Kamsorho (55).
This is a list of 300 workers whose contracts were about to expire. The Directeur du Chemin de Fer asked for 300 replacements with 6-month contracts. He also asked for advice on how to reduce desertion by African laborers on the railroad.
|Cercle||Number of workers||Date contract expired||Type of work|
|Sikasso||20||December 22||woodcutters for Kayes shops and locomotives|
|Sikasso||50||December 22||Toukoto chalk oven|
|San||78||December 12||Mahina brick factory|
|Bobo||80||November 4||woodcutters fired from Toukoto, Bamako and Travaux Publics|
|Bamako||60||December 12||construction in Bamako and new port|
|Sikasso||12||December 22||woodcutters on Kayes-Ambedidi railway|
This letter described the railroad's labor needs for 1919.
|Section||#permanent workers||#exceptional workers|
|Voie et Batiments||520||150|
Commandant Pierre Sicamois wrote that he thought the railroad's labor practices were corrupt. He refered to a request for more requisitioned labor by Hillaireau, the Chef de District de Chemin de Fer à Boulouli, and wrote that labor requisitions were bad business, especially in May when men were needed for planting. Sicamois thought that the system needed to be reformed, and wrote that regular contracts would reduce desertions and the need to train new workers with each requisition.
Sicamois mentioned the people of "Fouladougou Saboula" who cut construction timber for free, cut firewood for a fee, and even located their own millet for the government to purchase as their ration. Evidently, this was an example of successful labor recruiting practices.