Compensation for minors on strike in 1948: the Constitutional Council ruled in favor of their descendants

Compensation for minors on strike in 1948: the Constitutional Council ruled in favor of their descendants

In the fall of 1948, several thousand miners had stopped workto protest against decrees providing in particular for a reduction in their remuneration. Almost 3,000 of them had been dismissed and several hundred prosecuted.

After the imprisonment of seven of their comrades, striking minors confront the CRS in front of the sub-prefecture of Béthune (North), on October 22, 1948. (NTERNATIONAL NEWS PHOTOS (INP) / AFP)

The Constitutional Council ruled in favor of the descendants of minors wrongfully dismissed for their strikes in 1948 and 1952, Friday, September 18, thus paving the way for their compensation, as part of a priority issue of constitutionality.

“The Constitutional Council considers unconstitutional because contrary to the principle of equality before the law provisions subordinating to certain conditions the payment of allowances repairing the infringements brought to the rights of minors unfairly dismissed for acts of strike intervening in 1948 and 1952”, he announced in a press release.

In the fall of 1948, several thousand miners had stopped work to protest against decrees providing in particular for a reduction in their remuneration. Nearly 3,000 of them had been dismissed and hundreds prosecuted after nearly two months of strike marked by very violent clashes with the police. Some had been sentenced to prison terms.

Another similar movement had taken place in 1952.

Compensation that was subject to conditions

The dismissed miners had notably lost accommodation, heating and free healthcare provided by the mine.

In 2014, Parliament voted to recognize the unfair dismissal of these minors, allowing them or their dependents to receive an allowance of 30,000 euros each.

The text paved the way for compensation for descendants – up to 5,000 euros per child , but a provision made this compensation conditional on the opening of a file, by the minors themselves, with the National Agency for the Guarantee of the Rights of Minors (ANGDM), within the framework of the finance law. However, many of them were dead when the law came into force, or were unaware of this provision.

Regretting treatment “differential” between the still alive minors and those deceased, some 50 descendants had filed a priority question of constitutionality before the industrial tribunal of Paris. The latter had forwarded it to the Constitutional Council in February, via the Court of Cassation.