HC Deb 13 March 1940 vol 358 cc1197-8
68. Mr. Paling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any information about the strike of electricians in Cyprus and the one-day general strike in their support; and will he state the cause of the dispute?

Mr. M. MacDonald

As the reply is rather long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the Official Report.

Following is the reply:

Yes, Sir. A strike of electricians and mechanics employed in the Public Works Department workshops at Nicosia began on 23rd February. The occasion for the strike was the presentation of a demand for higher wages, shorter hours and improved conditions to which a reply was requested within three days. During the last six months the conditions in these workshops have been improved in many ways, and men who struck have received as a whole during that period an increase in wages. Although certain further minor concessions were made, the Government felt unable in the circumstances to meet the major demands. A general return to work of strikers began on 9th March, and men wishing to return are being re-absorbed as rapidly as possible. On 6th March the Government received a memorandum from the Trades Unions in Nicosia intimating that unless the Public Works Department strike was satisfactorily settled by 8th March a general strike was inevitable. Presumably in pursuance of this threat approximately 1,500 trade unionists in four urban centres struck on 9th March. But many remained at work. This attempt at a general strike was limited to 24 hours. The Governor reports that it made no impression on the general life of the community, and the present position is normal.