Congresses, central moments in the life of the CGT

Birth certificate of the CGT in Limoges in 1895

In Limoges in 1895, the National Federation of Trade Unions decided to create the General Confederation of Labor (CGT).

This is the first congress of the CGT. The aim is to bring together the “industrial and trade” unions and the Labor Exchanges. Present in the majority of large cities, the Bourses du Travail organize unionized workers locally. They are places of popular education and mutual aid.

Second birth in Montpellier in 1902

It will then take several years of work to achieve a structured organization, which will be decided at the Congress of Montpellier in 1902. Victor Griffuelhes, shoemaker worker who became general secretary of the CGT works so that the CGT, which scraped by with federations of trades without common vision, alongside the Fédération des Bourses du Travail, becomes the main force of the French labor movement.

The CGT now asserts itself as the articulated set of professional field federations and territorial unions.


On September 19, 2022, a study day will be held at the Opéra Comédie de Montpellier, which hosted the seventh congress of the CGT one hundred and twenty years ago. It is organized by the CGT, the UD de l’Hérault, the Institute of Social History (IHS CGT and IHS CGT 34), in the presence of members of the confederal executive committee.

A meeting between Jérôme Beauvisage (IHS CGT), Sophie Béroud (political scientist, specialist in the political sociology of trade unionism) and Stéphane Sirot (historian of trade unionism, strikes and social relations), with the participation of young researchers Flora Delmouly and Clément Schnakenbourg , of the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme SUD Montpellier) will allow a historical perspective.

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… to better plan for the future

From March 27 to 31, 2023, the 53rd CGT congress will take place in Clermont-Ferrand. On this occasion, the confederal leadership will be renewed and the strategy for the next three years defined.

One of the major challenges will be to imagine how to federate the various ongoing struggles.

It will also be a question of finding ways of addressing the employees of companies where the CGT is not yet represented.