Force Ouvrière

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Force Ouvrière


(Confédération Générale du Travail–Force Ouvrière, or CGT-FO), a trade union in France. It was founded by L. Jouhaux, R. Bothereau, and other reformist trade union leaders who broke with the General Confederation of Labor (Confédération Générate du Travail, or CGT) in December 1947 after a majority in the CGT condemned the Marshall Plan. The leaders of the Force Ouvrière did not succeed in winning the support of any significant portion of the working class. Of the 36 federated trade unions in the CGT, only four joined the CGT-FO.

The founding congress of the Force Ouvrière met in Paris in April 1948 and adopted a charter and program. The charter affirmed that the group should be organized as a federation. The program represented a mixture of reformist and anarcho-syndicalist views. Jouhaux was elected chairman, and Bothereau general secretary. The CGT-FO helped found the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

The leadership of the Force Ouvrière has been opposed to contacts with the CGT, but a drive toward united action with other trade unions is evident in the lower organizational ranks. The leadership has also opposed recent tendencies in favor of developing professional cooperation among various European trade unions. The present general secretary is A. Bergeron. The central press organ is the weekly Force Ouvrière. The CGT-FO has approximately 1 million members (1978).

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