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Today in Labour History

26 January 1886
The Mine at Decazeville, France
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Defenestration of an Employer

France saw a number of sharp labour conflicts in 1886. A miners strike in Decazeville broke out on January 26, after the announcement by the management of a wage cut of 34%. During skirmishes on that first day, the deputy director of the mine was thrown out of a window. He was severely wounded and died at the end of the day.

This led to a fierce reaction by the authorities. The military moved in to quell the unrest. The strike was not broken and lasted until June 14. In the end, the workers had gained a small victory.

The long conflict attracted a great deal of attention. Numerous solidarity meetings were organized all over France. On June 3, 1886 a large solidarity meeting was organized in Paris in the Chateau d’Eau Theatre. Among the people who spoke was Louise Michel. Read more...

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