HC Deb 07 June 1921 vol 142 cc1666-8

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that at the latter end of last year there was great dissatisfaction among the white staff in all departments of the Mesopotamian railways owing to the failure of the administration to redress a number of grievances as regards their pay, ration allowances, housing accommodation, and other matters, and that the methods of dealing with these grievances and for interviewing the accredited representatives of the men were cumbersome and bureaucratic; and whether instructions can be sent to the High Commissioner to provide more efficient means for learning of and dealing with the grievances of all grades of white civil servants in Mesopotamia, whether employed on the railways or elsewhere?


I am aware that certain grievances were brought to the notice of the High Commissioner, and that some of them have been redressed. As to the procedure adopted, I fully appreciate the importance of dealing expeditiously with these questions, and I am asking the High Commissioner if some machinery for the adjustment of grievances satisfactory both to the Administration and to the staff can be devised.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether steps have been taken to deal with the grave dissatisfaction that exists among white railway workers in Mesopotamia owing to the fact that the value of the rupee in sterling is worth so much less than it was in the spring of 1920, when a number of the employés signed a two years' contract with the Government; and if it is intended to recompense the men for the loss on the exchange?


I would refer the Noble Lord to the answer given to the similar question by the hon. Member for Smethwick on the 31st May, to which I have nothing to add.


Is my hon. Friend aware that the allegation is made that these men were promised that the rupee should not go below a certain figure, that if it did they would be compensated, that that promise has never been fulfilled; and will he look into the matter again?


I will certainly look into it again. But if the Noble Lord will consult the terms of that answer, he will see there was a pledge given by the High Commissioner to review the whole question within, I think, two or three months. That pledge was given—if my memory serves me rightly—on 10th February, and the answer to which I have referred shows that the pledge will be adhered to.

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