§ MR. WHITLEY
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if any steps are taken to explain to the Chinese coolies, when after six months service they are offered the alternative of a piecework contract, that the acceptance of the alternative entails the abrogation of the minimum of 1s. 6d. per day which was promised them when they were first engaged.
§ MR. LYTTELTON
The hon. Member is mistaken in supposing that the acceptance of the piecework contract entails any such abrogation as he refers to. The coolie by undertaking piecework secures the opportunity of earning considerably more than 1s. 6d. a day. But at any time after the expiry of his piecework contract he can abandon piecework and secure the minimum wage of 1s. 6d. for a day's work. As I have already stated to the House, Lord Selborne reports that 77 in the case of the North Randfontein Mine the offer was carefully explained to the coolies and that they had ten days in which to consider it. I have no reason to doubt that similar precautions were taken in other cases and that the coolies fully understand the position.