HC Deb 21 October 1953 vol 518 cc1960-1
20. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the average annual wages of sugar workers in the Colony of British Guiana during the year 1952.

Mr. Lyttelton

Detailed figures in the form desired are not available because the average number of weeks worked annually is not known.

In 1952 the average weekly wages for field workers—in each case I give the amount in British West Indian dollars-varied between B.W.I. $3.42 (14s. 3d.) and $11.47 (47s. 9½), and for factory workers between $6.13 (25s. 6½d.) and $16.52 (68s. 10d.). Fifty-six per cent. of the field workers drew the highest wage, and 63 per cent. of the factory workers drew wages between $12.76 (53s. 2d.) and the maximum of $16.52 (68s. 10d.).

27. Sir L. Plummer

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the average length of the sugar-cane cutting season in British Guiana; and what is the average daily wage rate paid to the men, women and children employed during that season.

Mr. Lyttelton

The average length of the spring cutting season is 15 weeks and the autumn cutting season is 20 weeks. The average daily earnings for field workers in the spring season of 1953 were B.W.I. $2.98 (12s. 5d.) for male piece-workers, $1.49 (6s. 2½d.) for female piece-workers, $1.64 (6s. 10d.) for male time-workers, $0.85 (3s. 6½d.) for female time-workers, $1.22 (5s. 1d.) for males 14–18 years of age and $1.01 (4s. 7½d.) for females 14–18 years of age.

Sir L. Plummer

The Minister will be aware that the Venn Commission asked that female labour should be abolished in this industry. May I ask him what steps have been taken in that direction? Secondly, can the Minister say how these present rates compare with the£61 a year for men and£34 10s. a year for women, the average wages for sugar workers as reported by the Venn Commission?

Mr. Lyttelton

The hon. Gentleman must put down a Question on that subject.

49. Mr. R. Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what information he has with regard to the strike now in progress on the sugar plantations in British Guiana.

Mr. Lyttelton

On 19th October two factories were not working. The others were working intermittently, but at least four of them were seriously affected by a poor turn out of field workers.