Independent Africa

AFRICAN HISTORY TIMELINE: Events affecting French labor policy 1750- 1952

Copyright 1998 by Jim Jones
All rights reserved

.......DATE............. ...........................EVENT............................. .........
1750-1820 French highway system constructed, linking all parts of the country to Paris.
1823 First French railroad from Andrezieux to St. Etienne 1823.
1830 Machinery and factory system began to reach France
1840s French railway system constructed with Paris at its center.
1848/spr First workers' cooperatives formed in Paris
1848 Legal end to slavery in French Republic
1850s Modern forms of labor protest with organization and political goals, began in France.
1857 Economic crash in Europe.
1869 First Workers International in 1869.
1873 Europe suffered an economic depression.
1879/10 The Parti Ouvrier was formed at the 3rd national French workers conference in Marseille.
1880-1899 National syndicats (unions) formed in France in the 1880s and 1890s.
1884 French law legalized strikes, but protected the liberte du travail . It encouraged unions to form. First groups were the Bourses du Travail that united craft guilds in each city.
1880s/late French general labor congresses began to mention the general strike as a tactic.
1890s French Bourses du travail became loosely federated at the national level in the 1890s.
1892 Treaty of Brussels obliged France to take action against slavery.
1895 A labor union, the Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT), was founded in France
1890s/late French Federation des bourses du travail set up a general strike committee.
1900 Bourses du Travail began to disappear in favor of unions organized within each industry (ie. coal miners).
post-1900 The concentration of French industry into large enterprises did not really begin until after 1900.
1899-1907 The rate of labor strikes increased markedly in France
1901-1909 France had a high unemployment rate. While workers' wage increases may not have kept up with price increases, corporative profits increased 24%.
1901 After the death of Fernand Pelloutier, a union leader who advocated education and moderation, French union leaders saw their job as fomenting strikes.
1902 The first industry-wide strike in France by miners
1903 The CGT annual congress accepted a limited syndicalist program (organized strikes).
1905-1909 period of French union growth
1906 The first attempt at a national strike in France
1910-1914 Huge increase in French labor strikes.
1910 Major French railroad strike
1911 Violent railroad strike in Great Britain
1912/12/10 The CGT called a one-day national strike against war.
1918-1921 period of French union growth
1919/03 Third International (and the first led by Communist Russia; ie. "the First Comintern")
1921 The second Comintern
1926 League of Nations Anti-Slavery Convention defines slavery and raises question about the use of forced labor in colonies.
1930 ILO Forced Labor Convention outlawed the corvee as a form of forced labor. It defines and limits the use of forced labor to public enterprises.
1934 Labor unions legalized in France
1934/08/27 PCF and SFIO join "United Front" to oppose Daladier's government.
1935 Copperbelt strike by African mine workers in Northern Rhodesia
1935-1938 period of French union growth
1936 Socialist/Communist "Popular Front" won the French election.
1936 ILO "Recruiting of Indigenous Workers" Convention defines labor recruitment and sets limits.
1937/05/17 Labor unions legalized in AOF
1938/01/15 The communists withdrew from the Popular Front cabinet, toppling the government.
1938 Czech-German crisis in the Sudetenland leads to the Munich Conference.
1939/09/01 Outbreak of World War II in Europe
1940/06 Germany conquers France and the Vichy government replaces the Third Republic
1940-1943 Vichy government reversed most labor reform.
1946/01 General strike by Dakar unions
1946/summer Elections to create the French Fourth Republic
1947 Port strike leads to riots and general strike in Gold Coast
1947-1948 Railroad strike in French West Africa
1949 Riots and French repression in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
1952 Code du Travail extended to France's African territories