Felix Houphouet-Boigny ruled Cote d'Ivoire for thirty-three years, following its independence in 1960 until his death in 1993. However, Houphouet-Boigny oversaw an important transition to a multiparty system in 1990, which led to the implementation of democratic elections. The transition to a multiparty system came after a large-scale nonviolent campaign by civil servants and students to demand a government that more accurately reflected the will of the people.
In 1946, a general strike in Dakar (with the exception of railway workers) guaranteed wage increases, family allowances for government workers, the recognition of unions, the expansion of wage hierarchies, and bonuses for seniority. In 1947, 164 cases of collective conflicts were reported to the Inspection du Travail; most dealt with wage disputes and were settled without incident. In that year, 133 unions in the public sector and 51 in the private had been recognized. The Fédération Syndicale des Cheminots (Railway Workers Union) was one of these autonomous and recognized unions.