HC Deb 20 March 1940 vol 358 cc1964-5
23. Dr. Haden Guest

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the strike of mineworkers at the Mufilira copper mine in Northern Rhodesia; and whether he will make a statement on the rates of wages and conditions of employment at this mine?

Mr. M. MacDonald

Yes, Sir. I am in telegraphic communication with the Governor on the matter. Both the Acting Chief Secretary and the Labour Commissioner in Northern Rhodesia have gone to Mufilira to assist in any way that they can in promoting a settlement. With regard to the latter part of the Question, I have asked the Governor for complete information and will send it to the hon. Member as soon as I receive it.

Dr. Guest

Will the right hon. Gentleman use his influence as far as possible to see that these men get good wages and good conditions, which they have not had, and prevent profiteering in the Colonial Empire at this time, which surely is just as important as it is in this country?

Mr. MacDonald

I entirely agree.

Mr. Paling

Could that information, and also as regards the profits of these companies, be included in the Official Report so that we could all have it?

Mr. MacDonald

Perhaps the best thing would be for the hon. Member to put down a Question immediately after the House reassembles, when I could publish the information in the Official Report.

Mr. Maxton

The Minister told us about the authorities going there to secure a settlement. Does he mean by that, driving the men back to work, or going into their grievances with a view to remedying them?

Mr. MacDonald

It means offering their good offices to the two sides in the dispute, with complete impartiality between the two.

Mr. Maxton

What do the men say?

Mr. Duncan

Can my right hon. Friend say what demands have been made?

Mr. MacDonald

The working people have put forward a number of demands for improved conditions. They are very long, and I cannot recount them in the course of an answer to a Question, but if hon. Members wish for information, and will put down Questions, I will supply all the information at my disposal.

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