General Confederation of Labor

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

General Confederation of Labor


(Confédération Générale du Travail: CGT), a national trade union organization of France. Founded in 1895.

From the moment of its origin the CGT has stood for the class struggle, having proclaimed as its final goal the abolition of capitalism. At the beginning of the 20th century, however, an anarcho-syndicalistic trend arose in the organization; it found its clearest expression in the so-called Charter of Amiens. After World War I (1914-18), a revolutionary wing took shape within the CGT, led by P. Semard and G. Monmousseau. In 1921 the reformist leadership of the CGT, headed by L. Jouhaux, brought about a split of the CGT; it expelled the revolutionary unions, which in 1922 formed the Confederation Générale du Travail Unitaire (CGTU). In 1936, under conditions of a powerful antifascist the rank-and-file members of the CGT demanded the convocation of a unity congress, which was held in Toulouse. The unified CGT, whose leadership now included B. Frachon from the former CGTU, successfully fought for the implementation of the National Front’s program. In 1939 the reformist wing of the CGT, led by Jouhaux, organized a second split within the CGT, expelling the progressive unions from it. During the years of the fascist German occupation of France (1940-44) the CGT was an illegal organization. In 1944 a unified CGT was officially resurrected. It was one of the organizers of the World Federation of Trade Unions (1945). In 1947 the reformists led by Jouhaux caused a split in the CGT for the third time and created in 1948 the splinter trade union center CGT-Force Ouvrière.

The CGT stands for democratic liberties and peace and for the unity of the working class and the improvement of its position.

Included in the CGT are 40 branch federations and 95 departmental groups of trade unions (1971). It numbers about 2.4 million (1971). The leading bodies of the CGT are the following: the congress (convoked once every two years), the National Confederative Committee, the Administrative Commission, and the Bureau. The general secretary is Georges Seguy (elected in 1967). Its major press organs are La Vie Ouvrière and Le Peuple.


Bruhat, J., and M. Piolot. Ocherki istorii Vseobshchei konfederatsii truda Frantsii. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from French.)
Efimova, A. L. Rabochee i profsoiuzneo dvizhenie vo Frantsii posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny (1945-1953). [Moscow] 1954.


General Confederation of Labor


(Italian, Confederazione Generale del Lavoro: CGL), a national trade union organization in Italy. Founded in Milan on Oct. 1, 1906.

By 1907 the CGL had 191,000 members, and in 1920 the membership stood at 2,320,000. After the establishment of the fascist dictatorship in Italy (1922) and the creation of fascist trade unions the membership in the CGL dropped off sharply (in 1924 it was 269,000). The reformist leadership of the CGL attempted to “get along” with the fascists, and on Jan. 4, 1927, they even adopted a resolution on the dissolution of the CGL. However, on Feb. 20, 1927, on the initiative of a number of the trade union leaders—Communists and independents—the CGL was reestablished illegally. It continued its work underground and later within the fascist trade unions. In France the Foreign Center of the CGL was set up by Italian Communists in order to direct the trade union struggle in Italy. At the same time the former general secretary of the CGL, B. Buozzi, did not recognize the self-dissolution of the CGL, and he created an organization in Paris with the same name. In 1936 the Paris CGL and the underground CGL adopted a declaration of trade union unity. After the collapse of Italian fascism (1943), a new organization was established in Rome in 1944. This was the Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, which united the principal tendencies of the Italian trade union movement.


Candeloro, G. Profsoiuznoe dvizhenie v Italii. Moscow, 1953. (Translated from Italian.)
Colombi, A. Pagine di storia del movemento operaio. Rome, 1951.
Manuale dell’attivista sindacale, 2nd ed. Milan [no date].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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