20/6/1917 Industrial unrest grips France

The French army continues to be gripped by unrest. On the home front too a rebellious mood is evident. A rolling series of strikes has been taking place in French factories, both ones engaged in civil production and ones producing munitions for the army. Most of the strikers are women, who have replaced conscripted men on the factory floors.

The strikers’ demands are mostly economic rather than political, with the women seeking pay rises and equality of wages with their remaining male colleagues. But there is a political undercurrent too, with demands for the war’s end being heard.

Industrial unrest perturbs the authorities. Could France be on the brink of a revolution like that of Russia? The strikes are met with repression, with the police violently suppressing demonstrations by striking workers. But the strikes are not a complete failure, with employers finding themselves forced to increase wages in order to lure their workers back to the shop floor.

image source:

Women in a French munitons factory, 1916

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