26. Mr. David Adams
asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of serious disputes which have arisen among the water-front and other workers of Sierra Leone, primarily due to low rates of pay and rising costs of living, and who allege that no medium for arbitration exists; and whether prompt steps are being taken to remedy the situation?
§ Mr. George Hall
Yes, Sir. The Sierra Leone Coaling Company's employés refused to work on 3rd June and walked out without making specific demands. I am glad to inform my hon. Friend, however, that the men returned to work in full strength on 8th June. They returned on condition that they should be paid at job rates, which are 33⅓per cent. higher than normal rates, pending the settlement of their dispute by an Arbitration Tribunal to be appointed under the Sierra Leone Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Inquiry) Ordinance, 1939. The Tribunal, with the Acting Chief Labour Officer as arbitrator, and with assessors nominated by the company and by the workmen, is now sitting. I am in communication with the Acting Governor regarding a statement which I have seen to the effect that the Sierra Leone Building Constructional Workers' Union and the Water-front Workers' Union have made representations for higher rates of pay on account of the rising cost of living.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Do I take it that the strike which took place by water-front 636 workers has been very successful and has justified itself?