Félix Gouin

26/01/194624/06/1946View on timeline

Felix Gouin

Félix Gouin (4 October 1884 – 25 October 1977) was a French Socialist politician who was a member of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO).

Personal life

Félix Gouin was born in Peypin, Bouches-du-Rhône, the son of school teachers. He studied law in Aix-en-Provence.

In 1940 he was among the minority of parliamentarians refusing to grant full powers to Marshal Philippe Pétain.

During the war, he was part of the central committee which reconstituted the Human Rights League and also co-founded the Brutus Network, a Socialist Resistance group.

In 1946, he then succeeded Charles de Gaulle as head of the French Provisional Government. Gouin's tenure was arguably most notable for seeing the enactment of France's first ever compulsory, amply funded retirement and worker's compensation laws. In addition, both the 40-hour law and overtime pay were re-established, while the comites d'entreprise (works councils) were extended to firms with 50 workers. In April 1946, a statute was adopted by the French Parliament that abolished the colonial legal status of France's four oldest colonies: Reunion, Guyane, Martinique, and Guadeloupe. Gouin's time in office also witnessed a significant extension of the role of the state in the workings of the French economy, with electricity, gas, coal, and the nine main insurance groups nationalized.

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Published in 21/09/2020

Updated in 19/02/2021

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