The history of the Syndicat des Employés du Commerce et de l'Industrie is of interest both for its considerable success in organising clerical workers, who, in general, have been slow to recognise the value of trade unionism and on account of the dominant role it played in the history of the Christian trade-union movement in France. In 1920 the 30,000 clerical workers organised in the Fédération Française des Syndicats d'Employés Catholiques (which had developed from the SECI) accounted for nearly a third of the membership of the Confédération Française des Travailleurs Chrétiens. The SECI provided the new confederation with its chairman, Jules Zirnheld, its general secretary, Gaston Tessier and almost the whole of its secretariat; its principles, its attitudes, its methods exercised a powerful influence on the confederation until Tessier's retirement from the chairmanship in 1953. Although its action developed in the context of a growing body of official Catholic doctrine on social and industrial questions, from the Papal Encyclical Rerum Novarum of 1891 onwards, its approach was determined essentially by the pressure of the needs of its members; “practical organisation has always attracted it more than ideology” wrote its general secretary, Charles Viennet, in 1914. In serving these needs it was deflected neither by the traditionalism of René de la Tour du Pin and Albert de Mun, who envisaged a corporate organisation of masters and men which would recreate the mediaeval guilds, nor by the democracv of Marc Sanpriier. which, involving acceotance of the Revolution as well as the Republic, looked forward to a trade-union movement „strictly concerned with trade and industrial questions, democratic to the core and deeply respectful of all moral convictions” and therefore implied membership of a broadly-based, democratic Confédération Générale du Travail. Nevertheless, in solving its problems as they arose the SECI evolved, and in so doing it gave to the Christian confederation a tradition of evolution, which led it finally, in 1964, to the abandonment of its specifically religious character.