HC Deb 07 April 1937 vol 322 cc181-3
11. Mr. Ede (for Mr. Kelly)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the rate of wages in English money values now being paid to the native rubber workers in Malaya?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

As the information involves a statement of particulars for different categories of labour, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate the full reply in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Paling

Are not the wages of these natives particularly low, especially when prices have increased by 100 per cent.? In view of the fact that these rubber planters exercise what is virtually a monopoly, will the right hon. Gentleman ask the committee to see that decent wages are paid to the people who work for them?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I do not know to what committee the hon. Member refers. He will see from the reply that the minimum wages have recently been raised between the Government of Malaya and the Government of India. These are not natives of Malaya. The bulk of the labour employed is of immigrants from India on temporary contracts, and the rates of wages are fixed between the Government of India and the Government of Malaya irrespective of anything to do with the rubber planters.

Mr. Paling

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any idea of the average daily wage?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I have in the answer.

Mr. Paling

Is it so long that is cannot be given in the House?

Following is the statement:

The rates of wages at present being paid to the various categories of labour on rubber estates in Malaya are approximately (in sterling exchange):

Per day.
s. d.
Indian Males 1 2
Indian Females 11¼
Chinese 1 9

These rates for Indian workers are the standard rates which were fixed between the local Government and the Government of India, and came into operation on 1st April, 1937. The rates represent an increase of approximately 1½d. in the case of males and slightly over 1d. in the case of females, over the wages which were previously paid. The rates for Chinese tappers have progressively increased in recent months and the above figure represents the present minimum scale. In some districts higher rates are being paid.

In addition to wages the following statutory perquisites are provided by employers:

  1. (a) Free housing, of a type approved by Government, for labourers and their dependants.
  2. (b) An adequate supply of good water.
  3. (c) Free hospital and medical treatment, including diet for labourers and their dependants and free transport to hospital.
  4. (d) Free allotment of 1/16th of an acre, to be cleared at the expense of the employer, to every labourer of six months' service who has dependants.
  5. (e) Maternity allowance for women.
  6. (f) Free nursery for infants, with a supply of free milk and rice on estates where more than 50 women are employed.
  7. (g) School, maintained at the expense of the employer of the estate where 10 or more children betwen the ages of 7 to 14 reside.
  8. (h) Rice may be supplied at cost price by the employer, should the labourer desire.

(This is usually done in the case of Indians, but not in the case of Chinese.)

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