Born Nov. 27, 1910, in Valence, in the department of Drôme; died Oct. 28, 1974, in Paris. Figure in the French and international trade union movement.
The son of a worker, Saillant was a furniture-maker by trade. In 1937 he was elected secretary of the National Federation of Woodworkers and in 1938 became a member of the Administrative Committee of the General Confederation of Labor (Confederation Générale du Travail; CGT). During the German occupation of France from 1940 to 1944, he was active in the Resistance; in 1944 he became president of the National Council of the Resistance. Saillant was a secretary of the CGT from 1944 to 1948. From October 1945 to October 1969 he was general secretary of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), and from 1969 honorary president of the WFTU and secretary of the CGT.
Saillant was an outstanding figure in the Partisans of Peace movement, a member of the bureau of the World Peace Council (WPC) from 1950, a member of the Presidium of the WPC from 1966, and honorary president of the WPC in 1974. Saillant was awarded the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Nations (1958).