HC Deb 07 May 1908 vol 188 cc415-6
Mr. FELL (Great Yarmouth)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what was the rate of pay per day offered to the unemployed unskilled white workmen of Johannesburg to work in the Transvaal mines; and was this pay in addition to board and lodging.


The men were not employed as I understand by the day but on piece work, and the money earned by them varied, as shown by the figures, so far available, from 3s. 6d. to 5s. 10d. per shift. The rates offered in every case were calculated as nearly as possible on the cost of Kaffirs to the mines with a slight difference in favour of white men. No board or lodging was given.


I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what work the unskilled unemployed workmen of Johannesburg could do in the mines except that ordinarily done by Kaffirs; and what was the grievance which made 274 out of the 395 engaged abandon the work without giving it a fair trial.


The material in possession of the Colonial Office does not I enable me to give details of the work assigned to the unemployed workmen, but it appears to be clear that those who refused work did so because they objected to being put on a level with Kaffirs. The Rand Unemployment Investigation Committee are, however, still hopeful of the, success of the experiment.