HC Deb 19 November 1942 vol 385 cc546-7W
Dr. Morgan

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in any consideration of trade union legislation in the West Indian colonies, any attempt has been made to secure uniform legislation on this subject in the different islands and colonies, with a view later to consolidation on federal lines?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

The trade union legislation enacted in the West Indian Colonies is based upon the early United Kingdom legislation, with additions from the later legislation according to the stage of development reached by the trade union movement in the Colony concerned. In some of the smaller dependencies no trade unions have as yet been formed, or they are only beginning to be formed. In order to assist the preparation of legislation by the Governments of territories where the movement is beginning to develop, a model ordinance was prepared in the Colonial Office last year, a copy of which I am placing in the Library of the House. In view of the varying stages of development referred to above a rigid uniformity is not desired.

Dr. Morgan

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the present position with regard to the revision or amendment of trade union legislation in Trinidad; whether the proposed new Bill has been laid before the local council; whether this draft has been approved by the Colonial Office or submitted to the Colonial Advisory Committee; whether experienced trade union opinion in Britain has been sought or expressed on this measure; and whether he is aware of the great dissatisfaction of the registered trade unions in Trinidad with regard to this particular trade union proposed legislation?

Mr. Macmillan

My Noble Friend is still in correspondence with the Governor of Trinidad in regard to the revised Trade Disputes and Protection of Property Bill. The draft revised Bill was submitted by the Governor to the representatives of the local trades unions. With regard to the third part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the information given by me on 8th October in reply to a previous question by him on this subject. With regard to the fourth part, it is understood that the British Trades Union Congress were consulted by the Trinidad and Tobago Trades Union Council in regard to the original Bill. It is not known whether the local council took similar action in regard to the revised version, but, as stated by me on 8th October, the revised Bill is based upon provisions existing in United Kingdom legislation which is in operation at the present time. The provisions in question are Sections 2 (1), 3 and 4 of the Trades Disputes Act, 1906, section 3 (1) and (2) of the Trades Disputes and Trade Union Act, 1927, and Sections 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, as amended by the Trade Disputes Act, 1906, and by the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act, 1927. With regard to the concluding part of the Question, my Noble Friend is aware that dissatisfaction in regard to the new Bill has been expressed by certain of the trade unions in the Colony.