HC Deb 04 February 1941 vol 368 cc815-6W
Captain Strickland

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies between what persons or corporate bodies discussion is now taking place with regard to the appointment of experienced trade unionists in this country as Government labour officers in certain Crown Colonies for the purpose of encouraging and assisting the development of the trade union movement among the Natives; what Colonies are under discussion; whether these labour officers will receive remuneration from State funds; whether they will be required to refrain from all party political or economic propaganda; and whether, before the scheme is adopted, its proposals will be submitted to Parliament for approval?

Mr. Georǵe Hall

The body with whom this project is being discussed is the Trades Union Congress. No decision has yet been reached as to the Colonial Dependencies in which it is considered that this experiment might with advantage be tried. Any candidates selected for Colonial labour appointments under this scheme will become members of the Colonial Service from the date of their appointment and will receive remuneration from the funds of the Colony to which they are appointed. As civil servants they will naturally be precluded from carrying on any propaganda of the nature suggested in the fourth part of the Question. With regard to the concluding part of the Question, I would emphasise once more the fact that this project is purely an experiment which will be tried in, at the most, three or four Colonial Dependencies (after consultation with the Colonial Governments concerned), and that it is contemplated that the selected candidates should be appointed in the first place on probation for a period of twelve or eighteen months. This should suffice to enable a reliable opinion to be formed whether any extension of the experiment is desirable.