HC Deb 15 October 1941 vol 374 cc1353-4
32. Mr. David Adams

asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the trades unions of Jamaica have been refused their request for consultation as to labour conditions and wages in connection with work upon the United States of America bases; and, as this attitude is contrary to the undertakings given, will he take steps to have the unions taken into consultation?

Mr. George Hall

This question was brought to my notice when I was in Jamaica. I was informed that the Colonial Government offered in February of this year to set up a consultative committee, on which the Jamaica Trade Unions Council would be represented, to deal with such matters as labour conditions and wages in connection with work on the United Stales bases. No reply had been received from the Council to that offer when I left the Colony.

Mr. Creech Jones

Is it not a fact that negotiations between the trades unions and the United States authorities are not permitted? Will the hon. Gentleman note that the real trouble is that direct negotiations are banned, and that the trades unions want access to the authorities in order to discuss both wages and working conditions?

Mr. Hall

That matter was put to me when I met the trades unions in Jamaica, but, as I have said in my reply, the Government did offer the trades unions an advisory committee. I should say that no representative of America was appointed. I am hoping that that advisory committee will be set up, and that will be a step towards recognition.

Mr. Adams

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the basis of my Question is a complaint by the trades unions in Jamaica that they are not permitted to negotiate, although they applied to do so?

Mr. Hall

I have seen a representative of the trades unions since they wrote the letter to my hon. Friend.