HC Deb 26 June 1935 vol 303 cc1081-5
26. Mr. LUNN

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the mining developments in West, Central, and East Africa, he is taking steps to secure for the native workers means to voice any grievances before they reach a serious stage; and, in particular, whether labour commissioners or inspectors are appointed by the Government for this purpose?


In all the British African Dependencies native employés have the right, which they constantly exercise, of submitting com- plaints in regard to the conditions of their employment to administrative officers or magistrates, and cases can, of course, be taken to the appropriate court if there has been any infraction of labour legislation. In some Dependencies special labour officers are employed. Elsewhere the duties which such officers discharge are part of the normal functions of administrative officers.


Are these officers appointed on the ground of ability or family influence; and which of the two does the right hon. Gentleman favour?


They are appointed on grounds of ability.


Has the right hon. Gentleman had an offer of the services of the hon. Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. West) as a voice?


Is it not a fact that, as a result of the troubles, it was admitted that certain grievances did exist among the natives; and is it not also the case that those grievances were not admitted until after the trouble?


I have said that the matter is under the consideration of this Committee.

27. Mr. LUNN

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in which of His Majesty's dependencies labour departments functioned in 1930 and are functioning in the current year; and how many labour inspectors or commissioners were employed in the various territories in 1930 and how many now?


As the reply is rather long and contains columns of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there has been a reduction in the number of labour commissioners; and is it not necessary now that there should be an increase in the number of district officers of that type, for the benefit of native interests?


I think the hon. Gentleman had better wait until the whole picture is presented in the OFFICIAL REPORT, and we can all reach a judgment on that picture.

Following is the answer:

The information desired by the hon. Member, in respect of the territories for the affairs of which I am responsible, is given in the following table. In dependencies where there is no separate Labour Department, especially in the dependencies in Africa, it is part of the normal duties of the Administrative Officers to investigate complaints and generally to supervise the administration of labour legislation.
Whether Labour Departments were functioning in 1930. Number of Labour Officers employed in 1930. Whether Labour Departments are functioning at present. Number of Labour Officers employed at present.
Kenya Yes. 4 Yes. 4
Northern Rhodesia No. No.
Nyasaland Protectorate No. No.
Somaliland Protectorate No. No.
Tanganyika Territory Yes. 9 No. 2(a)
Uganda Protectorate Yes. 4 No. 1(b)
Zanzibar Protectorate No. No.
Gambia No. No.
Gold Coast No. No.
Nigeria No. No.
Sierra Leone No. No.
Cyprus No. No.
Gibraltar No. No.
Malta Yes. 1 Yes. 1
Palestine No. No. 2(c)
Ceylon Yes. 3 Yes. 5
Malaya Yes. 10 Yes. 9
Hong Kong No. No.
Mauritius No. No.
Seychelles No. No.
Fiji No. No.
Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony No. No.
British Solomon Islands Protectorate Yes. 2 Yes. 1
St. Helens No. No.
Falkland Islands No. No.
Jamaica See Note (d)
Trinidad See Note (e)
British Guiana See Note (f)
Bahamas No information available.
Leeward Islands
Windward Islands
British Honduras
(a) In TANGANYIKA the Labour Department ceased to exist as a separate Department in 1931 but Administrative Officers now carry out the functions of that Department as part of their normal duties. In addition Administrative Officers were seconded in 1934 for special duties in connection with the employment of labour in the more important employment areas, viz., Arusha and Moshi, Tanga, Morogoro and Kiloso. An additional Administrative Officer is permanently employed on labour duties and a further similar appointment is under consideration.
(b) At the end of 1931 the Uganda Labour organisation was abolished as a separate Section and responsibility for the care and inspection of Labour reverted to the Provincial Administration and the Medical Department. One Labour Inspector and a small native staff were retained on the establishment of the Provincial Administration.
(c) In PALESTINE there was not in 1930, nor is there now, any single authority responsible for the administration of labour legislation in Palestine. The work is divided among the District Administration, the Department of Medical Services, the Government Welfare Inspector, the Police and the Department of Migration and Statistics.
A special Labour Officer was appointed to the Department of Migration in 1932 and in 1933 a trained part-time assistant was appointed under the Inspector of Welfare Work for factory inspection.

(d) In JAMAICA the Immigration Department is charged with certain functions in relation to the employment of East Indian Labour.
(e) In TRINIDAD the Warden of the County of St. George is also Protector of Immigrants and Director of the Labour Exchange.
(f) In BRITISH GUIANA in 1930 certain functions in relation to the employment of East Indian Labour were performed by the Immigration Agent General and his staff, including two in India. This Department continued to function till 1932, when the post of Immigration Agent General was abolished. Certain of the duties of the Department were, however, transferred to the Department of the Registrar General Certain other duties previously carried out by the Immigration Department are now performed by the District Commissioners. Such duties include the compilation of wage statistics, the investigation of complaints, etc.