HC Deb 06 July 1932 vol 268 cc422-3

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) if he is aware that the Palestine Government demands that the membership registers of the Railway, Post and Telegraph Workers' Union shall be submitted to them; and whether, having regard to the principle of freedom of association granted to workers by the Peace Treaty of Versailles, he will have this practice discontinued;

(2) if he is aware that the directors of the railway and post departments of the Palestine Government have imposed upon the Union of Railway, Post and Telegraph Workers a condition that it shall not be affiliated to the inter- national trade union movement; and if he will take action to have this condition withdrawn;

(3) if he is aware that the departments of railways, posts and telegraphs of the Palestine Government refuse to allow employés to join the General Federation of Jewish Labour, which is the only organisation which provides for sickness, etc., so that hardship is caused because the Government itself does not make such provision for its employés; and if he will take steps to remove this hardship?


It is a fact that the National Union of Railway, Post and Telegraph Workers in Palestine, like all other unions of Government employés in that Territory, is required to furnish the Government with a nominal roll of its members. It is also the case that unions of Government employés cannot be recognised if they constitute a part of or are affiliated to any association which is not itself a union of Government employés duly recognised by the Government. I am not aware that the former condition conflicts with any provision in the Treaty of Versailles, nor am I prepared to ask the High Commissioner to withdraw either of the conditions. I informed the High Commissioner some time ago that I saw no objection to Government employés enjoying any benefits that they might be able to obtain by participating in the sick club and other benefit societies conducted by the General Federation of Jewish Labour provided that this did not involve membership, affiliation or any promise of obedience to the rules of the Federation. I have been informed by the High Commissioner that almost all of the Arab members of the National Union of Railway, Post and Telegraph Workers participate in the benefits of the sick club and loan fund under an arrangement by which the Federation admits individuals on payment of certain dues to enjoyment of these benefits without requiring membership, affiliation or obedience to its rules.

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