§ 41. Mr. John Hynd
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that wages of Europeans on the Northern Rhodesian copper belt have risen in five years from £58 to £93 per month, for underground workers, whilst the equivalent cash wages for Africans have risen from 42s. to 73s. per month; and what action is being taken by the Northern Rhodesian Government to support the claim of the African Mineworkers' Union for wage increases proportionate to the profit-sharing bonus paid to Europeans.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
Yes, Sir. The increases mentioned by my hon. Friend occurred between 1945 and September, 1950, but the figures quoted for Europeans and Africans do not apply to similar posts. I am glad to be able to inform the House that, as a result of the normal process of collective bargaining, the African Mineworkers' Union have 1735 reached agreement with the copper companies on their recent claim. The Commissioner of Labour of the Northern Rhodesia Government acted as conciliator during the course of the discussions.
§ Mr. Keeling
Should not the Secretary of State have drawn the attention of his hon. Friend to the fact that his arithmetic is all wrong, inasmuch as the increase in African wages, as stated in this question, is 73 per cent., while the increase in European wages is only 60 per cent.?
§ Mr. J. Hynd
Is my right hon. Friend also aware of the fact that one of these companies recently declared a dividend of 120 per cent.? [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."] Does not that justify an increase in the Africans' wages?
§ Brigadier Prior-Palmer
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the 120 per cent. referred to is on the original capital and bears no relation whatever to the dividends paid?