"Menace Grève Agents Chemin de Fer 1925"
|© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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This dossier contains letters and telegrams concerning the threat of a strike by European and African employees of the Chemin de Fer Thiès-Kayes-Niger on March 20, 1925. Note that this follows closely the strike on the Chemin de Fer Dakar-St. Louis of January 1925. Some of the telegrams are in code.
The telegram of February 10, 1925 didn't satisfy the cheminots' demands. Both European and African cheminots demanded pay raises and bonuses. They threatened to strike on March 20, 1925.
This repeats the previous telegram from M. Soler and adds "signale rejet requête entraine conséquences désastreuses impossibles eviter" (warning that a rejection of the strikers' requests will lead to unavoidable disastrous consequences).
NOTE: M. Fara is possibly the unidentified strike leader mentioned in letter n°499 from the Commissaire de Police (see below).
The merchants in Kayes have no sympathy for "révendications incessantes" (incessant demands) of the cheminots, which they feel are based on administrative weakness rather than true grievances. They would "verrait avec la plus grande satisfaction que des mesures disciplinaires soient prises envers ce personnel." .. "D'autre part le commerce souffre tellement de l'incurie et du je m'en fichisme de ce personnel cheminots: qu'aucune bienveillance ne lui sera donnée" (gladly see disciplinary measures used against the railroad workers. Commerce suffers from the poor performance and attitude of the railroad workers, who deserve no support whatsoever).
While he expects no trouble, the Lt. Gouverneur du Soudan Fran#231;ais asked the general to have 50 tirailleurs prepared to intervene if their was a strike. If employees of the Travaux Publics joined the the strike, the Governor wanted 4 or 5 mechanics available to maintain water and electrical service.
He expected no trouble on March 20, 1925. Even if there was a strike, the European employees would prevent the Africans from committing any violent acts. In any case, the Europeans seemed disposed to accept the existing settlement rather than go so far as to strike.
He named several leaders of the strike. One was M. Solère from Thiès. Another was Lamine Guèye, a lawyer in Dakar. A third was unidentified (but another document in this dossier gives a last name Fara, as well as a correct spelling for Soler.)
Nothing (no strike by cheminots) happened on March 20, 1925. Some administrative officials and merchants arrived on the express train, but the Buffet-Hotel de Gare was full, so they had to find lodging in private houses.