aof document

Régie de Chemins de Fer de l'AOF, "Projet de création du Cadre Unique" (1950)
in AOF K 43 (1)

© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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Overview: In 1950, labor unions renewed their struggle against against the Gouvernement Général de l'AOF because of the continued existence of two cadres with different pay scales.

Le Bureau Fédéral du Fédération des Syndicats des Cheminots Africains, Secretaire-Général Sarr to Haut-Commissaire, Gouverneur Général de l'AOF,
letter n°139/FSCA (Dakar, June 2, 1950)

M. Sarr complained to the Haut Commissaire, Gouverneur Général de l'AOF that instead of two official cadres, personnel were organized in two de facto cadres under the "Statut General" and "Statut Particulière." Sarr demanded the integration of all employees under a single statute. He included a resolution (signed by Sarr and representatives of each railroad in AOF) plus a three-page document entitled "Conclusions des Entretiens" signed by Sarr, Bosc (of the Office Centrale des Chemins de Fer de la France d'Outre-Mer), Chauvet (President du Conseil d'Administration de la Regie des Chemins de Fer de l'AOF), and E. Traoré (of the Union des Syndicats Libres des Cheminots Africains de l'AOF).

Directeur Fédéral de la Régie du Chemin de Fer de l'AOF Alfassa to Inspecteur Général du Travail de l'AOF, copy of letter n°7465/SG (Dakar, June 30, 1950)

This chart was prepared in connection with the question concerning the number of paid union representatives. The chart gives "l'effectif actuel du personnel de la Regie" (the current number of railroad workers):

Region Cadre permanent Auxiliaries Total permanent Temporaries
Direction Fédéral 125 78 203 56
Dakar-Niger 2,654 5,360 8,014 553
Conakry-Niger 534 1,476 2,010 315
Abidjan-Niger 932 2,281 3,212 320
Benin-Niger (Chemin de Fer) 446 1,012 1,458 511
Benin-Niger (Wharf) 55 363 418 77
Benin-Niger (STANN) 61 183 244 19
Total 4,807 10,753 15,560 1,851

The Fédération des Syndicats des Cheminots Africains (FSCA) reported 16,000 members and the Union des Syndicats Libres des Cheminots Africains (USLCA) reported 4,000. At a ratio of 2,400 railroad "agents" (employees) per paid representative, that worked out to 6.25 representatives. Considering that both unions' claims were exagerated (the unions claimed was 20,000 workers, compared to 15,560 reported by the railroad) M. Alfassa assigned 5 positions to the FSCA and the other position to the USLCA. The FSCA asked for two more representatives that would not be paid by the railroad administration, and M. Alfassa accepted. M. Alfassa also proposed that the administration pay 1/4 salary for an additional representative from the USLCA.

Extrait du Journal Officiel de la République Française (July 8, 1950), page 7385

The Arrêté de 30 Julliet 1950 authorized an 11-day trip to Paris for François Gning.

Directeur Fédéral de la Régie du Chemin de Fer de l'AOF to President du Conseil d'Administration de la Régie du Chemin de Fer de l'AOF,
letter n°08382/p (Dakar, July 27, 1950)

The railroad federal director complained that he wasn't consulted about Francois Gning's 11 day trip to France.

Haut Commissaire, Gouverneur Général de l'AOF Béchard, "Note pour Monsieur le Gouverneur Secrétaire Général," n°899 CAB/CONF (August 7, 1950)

The two African unions asked for a return to the Régime Administratif. The RDA supported this politically with a law proposed by Mamdou Konaté. They felt that the Régime Administratif would provide more concrete and stable guarantees for workers.

Police Spécial du Dakar-Niger, "Renseignements," n°13716 (Thiès, August 22, 1950)

François Gning did not know why he received the authorization for a paid trip to France. However, he said that as long as he was going, he would visit his daughter in Paris, or go to Rennes where his son was planning to begin his studies.

Conseil d'Administration de l'Association des Anciens Éleves des Écoles Professionelles et Techniques de l'AOF, M. Madiop Niang, Service des Études D.N. Thiès to Haut Commissaire, Gouverneur Général de l'AOF, letter n°51 (Thiès, September 27, 1950)

The Association des Anciens Éleves des Écoles Professionelles et Techniques de l'AOF complained that the Arrêté 4742 was too tough on graduates of technical schools. It required two or three years as auxiliaires and one or two years in the cadres (before they entered the cadre supérieur or the SPP).

President de la Conseil d'Administration de la Régie Chambon to President de la Conseil d'Administration du Syndicat Libre des Chemninots Africains de la Régie du Chemin de Fer de l'AOF (Dakar, October 6, 1950)

The railroad administration responded to a demand by the SLCA for the right to one salaried union representative per 2,400 workers, in accordance with the practice at the SCA. In his repsonse, President of the Conseil d'Administration Chambon requested a precise count of paid-up SLCA union members and promised to send the Inspecteur Général des Travaux Publiques to check things out. M. Chambon cautioned that the count could not include temporary workers, or dock workers at Grand-Bassam and Port Bouët.

Syndicat des Cheminots Africains du Dakar-Niger to Haut Commissaire, Gouverneur Général de l'AOF, n°5095/SCADN (Thiès, February 9, 1951)

"En application de la loi validée du 28 Fevrier 1944 et l'Arrêté Ministriel du 17 Juillet 1946, les Chemins de Fer de l'AOF ont été exploités en Régie Autonome, Organisme á charactère Industriel et Commercial á compter du 1er Janvier 1947." In other words, the railroad was privatized. Railroad personnel had no say in this transformation.

Article 2 of the Loi de 20 Fevrier 1944 required OFERTOM to create "un statut propre au personnel" to modify the cadre unique of 13 ranks, each with 9 levels, to create a "grille de 19 échelles comme á la SNCF" (a promotion scheme with 19 levels, like that of the French National Railway).

At the same time, levels 1-11 were to be paid at the same rate as the equivalent levels in AOF. Levels 12-19 received the same salaries as their equivalents at SNCF in France. However, since the SNCF was lower paid than AOF, that meant that certain levels in the lower rank were paid more than the lowest levels in the higher rank (notably level 11, which was higher paid than level 12).

All salaries were calculated with respect to rank 1, level 1, which was assigned an indice of 200 for the purposes of calculations. Here are some other indices:

Year Annual salary for cadre administratif
rank 1, level 1
Annual salary SPP
(Chemin de Fer)
1949 6139.70 6000
1950 6386.33 6400
1951 6516.66 6580

The indices for the first group (levels 5.1 to 10.8) of the Cadre Commun Supérieur ranged from 335 to 704 while the equivalent SPP ranged from 200 to 704. For the second group of the Cadre Commun Supérieur, the indices ranged from 559 to 849, while the first group of the Cadre Secondaire was 335-737. The unions proposed a range of indices from 200 to 1061.

Fédération des Syndicats, "Probleme de la Renumeration du Personnel, soumis à Monsieur le Gouverneur Général à Thiès, le 5 Mai 1951"

After four years under the system of gestion industrielle, the railroad workers seemed worse off than the equivalent workers in the administration. Due to the constant demand for increased efficiency, they felt even more harried and pressed. "Nos cadres administratifs ont été, eux aussi, révalorisées mais d'un façon que nous n'hesitons pas á qualifier de ridicule."

All of this is based on indexes that compared current salaries to previous salaries on the Chemin de Fer de l'AOF, other railroads, and in Travaux Publics.

Directeur Fédéral de la Régie du Chemin de Fer de l'AOF to Haut Commissaire, Gouverneur Général de l'AOF. n°33s/SAR (Dakar, May 31, 1951)

This is the cover letter for a motion by the Comité Fédéral de la Fédération Autonome des Cheminots Européens de l'AOF.

The European union passed a motion containing a counter-proposal to Mamadou Konaté's proposal for a law creating a single cadre on the railroad. The Europeans were indignant at the way Konaté's proposal was being treated by the government. The government representative, M. Bourgerel, met with two African unions but did not contact the Europeans. The Europeans preferred the system of gestion industrielle and the Statut Général, despite Bourgerel's assertion that "noir et blanc est en parfait accord" (blakcs and whites are in perfect agreement). The European union claimed to represent 500 angry European railroad workers. One reason that they opposed the system of gestion administratif was that such an administration was prone to politization, which explained why it received support in certain parts of the government.

Apparently only a single European, M. Macry, opposed the Statut Général. The motion was signed "p. le comité" (on behalf of the committee) and included the names of E. R. Legé, Renaud and Bizien.