HC Deb 21 June 1950 vol 476 cc1283-4
40. Mr. Roland Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the ages, the experience and the qualifications of Mr. Edward Cain and Mr. P. C. Weeks, who have been chosen by him to advise on trade union organisations and labour relations in Nigeria; in particular, what experience either of them have had of labour relations in the Colonial Empire; and what Colonies they have visited.

Mr. Dugdale

Mr. Cain, who is 58, went to work in the pits at the age of 13 and has had a life-time of experience as a miner, trade unionist and local government councillor. Mr. Weekes, who is 30, holds a degree in mining engineering and has had four years as a colliery manager in South Wales. Both were chosen because of their experience of labour relations in the coal industry in this country, since it was advice and help from the United Kingdom that the Governor sought in his published despatch of 18th May.

I take this opportunity of informing the House that the two remaining members of the party, selected in consultation with the Trades Union Congress and the British Employers' Confederation respectively, will be Mr. Andrew Dalgleish and Colonel C. E. Ponsonby. Both they and my Assistant Labour Adviser, of course, have colonial as well as United Kingdom experience.

Mr. Robinson

Arising out of the two first-mentioned appointments, will the Minister say why he chooses as advisers on Colonial affairs men who have had no experience of the Colonial Empire at all? Is he not aware that labour relations in the Colonies are a very different problem from what they are in this country?

Mr. Dugdale

That is just the point I sought to make clear in my answer to the Question. What was wanted was advice as to how these things are conducted in this country, as they have not been altogether satisfactorily conducted at Enugu. It is hoped to provide them with that advice.

Mr. J. Hynd

Can my right hon. Friend say how anyone who has spent years in the Colonies can possibly have trade union experience?