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A: Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

One of the Earliest Labor Strikes is Conducted by the Book Workers of Lyon

4/25/1539 to 12/18/1541

The so-caled Grand tric, a three or four month strike for better pay conducted in Lyon beginning on April 25, 1539, was probably the first labor strike in France, and most certainly the earliest documented labor strike in the history of book production. The strike was conducted by the Griffarins, a secret illegal brotherhood of book workers in Lyon. During the 16th century there were no published works on any aspect of the printing trades, so all knowlege of printing, typography, papermaking, and binding had to be learned through apprenticeship. This led to the formation of "brotherhoods" which were closed to all but the initiated.

The French government intervened initially to end the strike on August 21, 1539, but work stoppage eventually resumed, The strike was finally shut down for good on December 28, 1541, when labor organizing was formally banned.


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