Chemin de Fer de Thiès au
Niger, Cooperative Personnel Indigène (1926-1935)
|© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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This was the document that created the first African workers cooperative.
This meeting included Bakary Diallo (Sécretaire-Tresorier), Sadio Dembélé (mechanicien 1er à Kayes), Guimba Konaté (écrivain principal 2e à comptabilité, gérant de l'annexe à Kayes), Dioukamaky Diallo (écrivain principal 2e, gérant de l'annexe à Toukoto), Kissane Sako (écrivain principal 2e du Bureau de Toukoto), Souleymane Coulibaly (mechanicien principal 1e à Toukoto), Bakary Konaté (écrivain principal 2e, Service de la Voie à Bamako, gérant à Bamako), Demba N'Diaye (chef de brigade 1er à Bamako) and Makan Sissoko (chef d'écrivain principal 1er, Service de la Voie à Bamako).
They approved the extension of the cooperative to the Chemin de Fer Thiès-Kayes and reported that the cooperative possessed assets of 16,154.06 francs in cash, goods and accounts receivables. From the list of assests, it appears that the store in Kayes was the biggest part of their operation.
Signed by the Chef du Service de Traction Pochot.
Among other decisions, the cooperative would not allow day workers (journaliers) to buy on credit from cooperative stores.
The cooperative was founded in 1922 and its statutes were approved by the arrêté 1268 du 28 Octobre 1922. The railroad provided a place for stores and warehousing, plus strongboxes and official seals.
This letter mentions the Coopérative Militaire de Dakar. Europeans could use it, but in Thiès, they had to walk two kilometers to reach the existing building.
This letter describes the purpose of the cooperative - to supply basic food items like rice, millet, salt, meat and fresh or dried fish.
This 3-page letter from the Conseil d'Administration of the workers cooperative to the statutory president of the cooperative gave figures for the total membership of the cooperative.
|Date||Number of members|
|December 31, 1926||206|
|January 31, 1927||260|
|February 28, 1927||280|
|March 31, 1927||323|
|April 30, 1927||367|
|May 31, 1927||534|
|July 10, 1927||620|
The members of the conseil d'administration calculated that the 620 members on July 10, 1927 were responsible for the fedding of 2,500 people.
In six months, the cooperative showed a profit of 18,143.67 francs on 294,086.82 francs worth of receipts, but they had problems with their credit operations. Apparently railroad workers in remote locations along the rail line paid their bills to the billetour (ticket collector) of passing trains, and that money only reached the treasury when the pay train returned home. On the other hand, the cooperative had to pay cash for supplies, especially local millet. The cooperative asked the Directeur du Chemin de Fer Thiès-Niger to intercede with the Gouverneur Général de l'AOF for a subsidy to allow the cooperative to buy millet in advance, so they could obtain it at a lower price.
Article 7 stated that the membership fee to join was 500 francs. In Article 3, it was specified that no credit would be available to members. Although this document has no date, another letter refered to it, so the date must have been around the beginning of 1928 [see Directeur du Chemin de Fer Thiès-Niger to Inspecteur Général de Travaux Publiques, n°38 SL/3 EX.S. (Thiès, February 27, 1928)].
The Coopérative Indigène had a huge surplus in the cash account that included part of its reserves. When they tried to put the excess into a postal savings account, it was discovered that the old statutes had expired and the cooperative had no legal existence.
In Article 4, the capital of the cooperative was set at 10,000 francs. Each member paid 10 francs to join.
Article 7 said that the cooperative was open to cheminots indigènes (Arican railroad workers), their wives, and their children over ten years of age.
Article 23 set the price of goods at cost plus 15%.
Article 24 established officers for the cooperative. The president was the Directeur du Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger. The vice-president was the Chef du Service de Traction. The Secrétaire-Tresorier was an "agent comptable des Services Généraux." Six other members were chosen from the Chemin de Fer Thiès-Kayes and six more from the Chemin de Fer Kayes-Niger.
The Coopérative Indigène had a deficit of 200,000 francs. M. Geismar recommended price increases and tighter accounting controls.