Grève. Chemin de fer de l'AOF et du Togo. Renseignements.
Compte rendu. Correspondences (1947-1949)
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(p1) This commission was composed of the sécretaires-général of all the unions in Dakar. They met to discuss their response (attitude) towards the railroad strike. M. Bouvier presented the sentence of the arbitration commission and a railroad representative said that they would continue the strike until their demands were met.
In the following discussion, everyone agreed to aid the cheminots. Some wanted a general strike (Gueye Abbas and Lamine Dialla) while others wanted to give money, organize protests, etc. In the end, they decided to have a "grand meeting d'information" at the race track, take up a collection for the strikers, and afterward, send a message to the Haut Commissaire, Gouverneur Général de l'AOF announcing a date for a general strike to be held if the railroad workers' demands were not met.
(p2) Lamine Diallo wanted the general strike to be held early, before the Haut Commissaire, Gouverneur Général de l'AOF could draft cheminots and force them back to work to end the strike. The mass meeting was set for November 6, 1947. Lamine Diallo received applause when he declared that "le moment n'est plus de savoir si les revendications de nos camarades cheminots sont justifiées. Si mˆme elles ne le sont pas, nous devons prendre position hardement pour eux, car l'échec de leur mouvement serait la mort du syndicalisme en AOF" (It is no longer a question of whether the railroad workers' grievances are just. Even if they are not, we must support them because their defeat will end the labor union movement in AOF.)
The Guinean unions offered unanimous support for the railroad strike.
Signed by Secretaire Sekou Touré and Sécretaire-Général Soriba Touré.
This document is attached to a cover note signed by Direction de la Surété Générale Ch. Bodio, n°1408 DSG (Dakar, December 17, 1947)
Racine Mademba met with the chef de gare Drame Keita in Toukoto and told him that the strike was illegal, that it was bad for the economy and that when it was over, most strikers would lose their jobs and others would suffer the loss of their pay. He claimed that only 1,500 cheminots were necessary to operate the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger. He also said that African deputés would not be able to help the strikers because the strike was illegal. M. Mademba also met with Cmdt. Bertrand of the Service Spécial des Travaux.
On December 22, 1947, eight cheminots returned to work on the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger at Thiès. At noon, they were confronted by a group of women and children who blocked their return to work with shouts and insult. Police had to escort them back to work.
That evening, a meeting of strikers attracted 900-1,000 men. Jacques Gaye, the Conseilleur Général, warned them not to interfere with men who returned to work, in order not to break the laws concerning "liberté du travail." In contrast, a worker named Seck N'Diaye said they should "caisser la figure à tous ceux qui avaient repris le travail."
On December 23, 1947, a ninth worker returned to work.
At a meeting on December 25, 1947, 250-300 cheminots seemed divided as to whether to continue the strike, despite a speech by Ibrahima Sarr. Bikiri Gaye, gérant de la cooperative indigène, said he couldn't feed the strikers.
Soudanese cheminots had their own meeting on December 26, 1947, and voted to return to work on January 2, 1948. According to Adjutant Reffert, the Soudanese were "l'elite des ouvriers indigènes du Dakar-Niger" and local folks were the laborers (ouvriers). As of December 26, 1947, only 15 had returned to work. Moussa Diarra led a Soudanese delegation to see the Gouverneur Général de l'AOF on December 26, 1947.
60 Mossi workers of the Service de la Voie et Batiments on the Chemin de Fer Abidjan-Niger (from Ouahigouya) demonstrated for higher pay on February 2, 1940 in front of the offices of the Services Généraux du Chemin de Fer Abidjan-Niger. M. Lagardelle told them that they were free to work elsewhere, but if they chose to leave, they would not receive transport home since they hadn't finished their contracts.