Senegalese workers general strike for increased wages, 1945-1946


To raise workers' wages.

Time period

December 22, 1945 to February 7, 1946



Location Description

French West Africa
Jump to case narrative

Methods in 1st segment

Methods in 2nd segment

Methods in 4th segment

Methods in 5th segment

Methods in 6th segment

Segment Length

Approximately 8 days


Union leaders from the different factories, companies, and service shops from West French Africa (Senegal)


Not known

External allies

Not known

Involvement of social elites

Not known


French West African administration; the Governor General

Nonviolent responses of opponent

Not Known

Campaigner violence

Not Known

Repressive Violence

Not Known


Economic Justice



Group characterization

Commercial Workers
industrial workers
Port Workers
Service Sector Workers
Civil Servants

Groups in 1st Segment

Industrial Workers
Port Workers

Groups in 2nd Segment

Commercial Workers

Groups in 3rd Segment

Civil Servants
Service Sector Workers

Segment Length

Approximately 8 days

Success in achieving specific demands/goals

6 out of 6 points


1 out of 1 points


3 out of 3 points

Total points

10 out of 10 points

Notes on outcomes

The workers won significant wage increases, family allowances for government workers, the recognition of unions, the expansion of wage hierarchies, and bonuses for seniority.

The success of this strike inspired the African railway-men to conduct their own strike in 1947

Database Narrative

Beginning in the year 1944, French West Africa experienced economic difficulties. Prices continued to augment, while salaries remained the same. This was complicated by the fact that insufficient sales (because of the poor salaries) also affected the wages of the workers. Wanting an increase in wages, on December 22, 1945, the workers of the ports of the French Company in the city of Dakar organized a strike. The workers from the printing shops of Dakar and the Senegalese electrical factory in Saint Louis joined in the strike.

Rumors that sales would be carried through with the French franc engendered a strong response from the working community. To counter this action, by mid January, the workers organized a general strike. The strike was to last until all the workers wages were raised.

The Governor General, admitting his incapacity to deal with the events, sought the help from two French delegates of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT). These delegates visited the unions of Thiès and Saint Louis. The objectives of the delegates were to create a united workers union between French and African workers throughout French West Africa as well as to deal with the demands of the African worker.

The general strike lasted three weeks; on February 7 1946, the unions and the delegates reached an agreement. The workers won notable wage increases, government workers received family allowances similar to those received by the top ranks, unions were formally recognized, bonuses were given for seniority, and wage hierarchies were amplified.

This strike empowered workers throughout French West Africa, for it demonstrated the ability that a mass movement had against an imperial administration.


Influenced the Railway Strike in West French Africa of 1947 (See "French West African railway workers strike for greater benefits, 1947-1948") (2).


Cooper, Frederick. “ ‘Our Strike’: Equality, anticolonial politics and the 1947-1948 railway strike in French West Africa.” The Decolonization Reader. Ed. James D. Le Suer. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Roche, Christian. Le Sénégal à la conquête de son indépendance: 1939-1960: chronique de la vie politique et syndicale, de l'Empire français à l'Indépendance. Paris: Karthala, 2001.

Additional Notes

Edited by Max Rennebohm (05/06/2011)

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy

Aurora Muñoz, 03/12/2009