HC Deb 05 June 1935 vol 302 cc1869-70
16. Mr. MAXTON

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, what measures have been taken for the suppression of the trike in the N'kana copper mine in Northern Rhodesia; whether any troops have been sent to the area; whether troops and police have been actually used to suppress the strike; what casualties have occurred; and whether he can state the hours of labour and wages rates for which the African miner usually works in this area?


As regards the first three parts of the question, I would refer to the full statement I made on Monday in reply to questions by the hon. Member for North Kensington (Mr. Duncan) and the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) of which I am sending the lion. Member a copy. In the course of that statement I informed the House that five natives were killed and six wounded in the riots at Luanshya. The Governor has now reported that in the disturbances, in addition to the six already mentioned, 19 other natives were wounded or injured. Of these, one has since died and one is critically ill, but the rest are reported to be progressing satisfactorily. A native working in the Northern Rhodesia mines works on an average for 48 hours per week. The average wage rates for the year 1934 were 19s. 4d. per month for surface employés and 30s. 8d. per month for underground employés. In addition to their pay, the natives employed on the Northern Rhodesia mines receive free rations.


Has the right hon. Gentleman considered putting a representative of the workers on the committee of investigation that is set up?


I have announced the committee of investigation which the Governor has already set up, and I think it will be generally agreed that it is a very experienced Committee.


Will the terms of reference of the Committee be wide enough to allow them to consider the general economic conditions of the country, or will they be confined merely to the trouble at the mine?


The terms of reference are to inquire into the circumstances attending the recent disturbances and the causes which gave rise to such disturbances, and obviously they are wide enough to cover every relevant matter in relation to the disturbances themselves or to their causes.