HC Deb 07 February 1951 vol 483 cc1734-5
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 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?