§ 24. Mr. Rankin
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if a satisfactory settlement has been now reached as a result of the recent strike of sugar workers in St. Kitts; what recommendations have been made by the investigator sent by the Secretary of State; and what action has been taken to improve conditions.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The strike has ended and work was resumed on 9th April: no details have yet been received except that the Sugar Producers' Association and the trade union have agreed to refer to arbitration all matters in dispute. The report of Mr. Parry, who inquired into the dispute, was published in the "Leeward Islands Gazette" on 2nd March. I am arranging for my hon. Friend to be supplied with a copy. Mr. Parry recommended that the parties should resume negotiations and go to arbitration on all points in dispute. As regards the last part of the Question, an Economic Commission of Inquiry is being appointed to investigate conditions in the sugar industry; it is hoped that this Commission will start work in the near future.
§ Mr. Rankin
Will my hon. Friend keep in mind that industrial conditions there have been greatly inflamed by the fact that last year 1,000 million dollars of profit were made from sugar and cotton while estate workers were getting a wage of £41 5s. a year, and that if these conditions were altered, we should not need more police to keep the peace?
§ Mr. Mayhew
I cannot, without notice, comment on the figures, but I would say that that would be an appropriate subject for the Commission of Inquiry.