HC Deb 31 October 1957 vol 575 cc384-5
28. Mr. Benn

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the dispute in Aden between Messrs. Cory Brothers and their employees over redundancy; what action the Labour Commissioner in Aden has taken in response to the appeal sent to him; and whether he is satisfied with the present situation.

Mr. Profumo

Messrs. Cory Brothers have agreed that in future the management will notify its casual labour requirements to the union concerned in advance, and that the rates of payment for casual labour will conform to those agreed by the Aden Port Employers' Federation. Agreement has also been reached on the pension and gratuity terms for employees declared redundant. The Labour Commissioner has been in touch with both parties during the negotiations. I regard this settlement as satisfactory.

Mr. Benn

Is the Minister aware that this is a slightly more complicated question than he has indicated, in that the firm in question dismissed 120 of their monthly-paid staff on the ground that they were redundant, and promptly re-engaged them as daily staff, thereby avoiding the necessity of pensions, holidays and other benefits which were previously their obligation when these people were on the regular establishment? Secondly, is the hon. Gentleman aware that when the T.U.C. mediator went out to Aden, the Labour Commissioner told the union that it was more or less obliged to accept the settlement, but when the firm subsequently refused to accept its part of the settlement, no Government pressure was brought? Will the hon. Gentleman look at it again?

Mr. Profumo

I do not think it needs looking at again. I have already told the hon. Gentleman that I regard the settlement as satisfactory. There were exceptional conditions which led to the re-employment of the people who had been dismissed, but the matter has been settled satisfactorily and I think we should leave it there.

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