HC Deb 03 November 1909 vol 12 cc1966-7W

asked the Under-Secretary if he is aware that the official returns as to adult male indentured immigrants in Trinidad show a weekly wage earned by such immigrants of only 4s. in 1907–8, and that such immigrants were promised, on being engaged in India, a wage of 5s. 2½ per week; whether such wage of 5s. 2½d. was meant as a minimum and not as a maximum; and, if so, can he state whether it is his intention to take any action?

Colonel SEELY

The terms of service which recruiters are authorised to offer to intending immigants in India provide that able bodied adults shall be paid at the rate of 1s. 0½d. for each day's work. They do not, nor does the law of the Colony stipulate, that every labourer shall receive that sum, but that he shall have the opportunity of earning it. The figures given in the returns of the Immigration Department show that the actual earnings of the whole body of able-bodied immigrants averaged during the last three years 4s. a week. Allowing for holidays and absence from illness and other causes, there seems no reason to doubt that the coolies have the opportunity of earning the statutory um. This would appear to answer my hon. Friend's question, but if he can adduce evidence to show that the wage of 1s. 0½d. has not been paid when a full day's work has been performed I shall be happy to make inquiry.