HC Deb 21 May 1928 vol 217 cc1489-90

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the fact that the Tata Iron and Steel Company are receiving an annual cash subsidy on the tonnage of certain products and that manufacturing industries under the control of Tata Sons, Limited, of Bombay, are receiving orders for steel, cement, cloth, etc., in preference to British tenderers, from various Departments of the Government of India and Government-controlled railways and mines, he will inform the House if the Government in India have assured themselves that this firm are observing a fair-wage standard and afford general fair treatment to their employés?


My Noble Friend has no recent information regarding labour conditions at Jamshedpur, but it appears from the Tariff Board Report of December, 1926, that they were at that time quite satisfactory.


Has the Noble Lord not seen an emphatic and disquieting pronouncement made in this country last week that this firm are known to be the worst employers in the world, and would not the manufacturers of this country expect reliable information as to whether that pronouncement by a member of the Simon Commission is true or untrue?


Was the hon. Member opposite himself connected with the firm, and at that time was the Fair Wages Clause to which he alludes in operation?


With regard to the question of the hon. Member opposite, I do not feel that it is for me to interfere in the controversy which has arisen between the hon. Member and another right hon. Gentleman who sits on that side of the House.


I am not referring to a controversy at all. When an emphatic pronouncement is made that this firm is known to be the worst employer in the world—


The hon. Member is trying to put in supplementary form what I struck out of the original question.