HC Deb 02 June 1954 vol 528 cc1281-2
52. Mr. Awbery

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the concern of the Government Employee's Union in Singapore over the new regulations for the dismissal of pensionable civil servants on the grounds of temperamental unsuitability or other defect of character; that these regulations, which were drafted without consultation with the trade union and which are now before the legislative council, are open to abuse on political or other grounds; and if he will take steps to withdraw them until consultation has taken place.

Mr. Lyttelton

The purpose of the new regulations, which are of general application and have no special reference to Singapore, is to make it possible for pensions to be granted to officers who may be retired in circumstances which do not warrant dismissal and are not covered by the term "general inefficiency." The representations referred to have been made in connection with the introduction of consequential legislation in Singapore. They are evidently due to a misunderstanding which I hope has now been cleared up by the full explanation given during the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill.

Mr. Awbery

Will the Minister give an assurance that, if changes of this character are made in future, the union will be consulted before they are brought about?

Mr. Lyttelton

On this particular matter, the Colonial Government and the Colonial Civil Servants' Association were not consulted before the regulations were changed, but Governments are free to decide whether or not they will enact legislation without which the change would have no practical effect in the particular territory. I assure the hon. Gentleman that the object of the Regulations is to be of benefit to the public service, and not to its detriment.