HC Deb 11 July 1946 vol 425 cc121-2W
Mr. M. MacMillan

asked the Minister of Transport the results of the I.L.O. Maritime Conference at Seattle.

Mr. Barnes

I have received a preliminary report of this conference which appears to have been highly successful. It was attended by over 30 nations and was held at Seattle between 6th and 29th June. Great Britain was represented by a Government delegation led by the Parliamentary Secretary to my Ministry and by strong delegations of shipowners and of trade union officials acting on behalf of the seamen.

The conference finally decided on a number of important conventions setting up minimum international standards for the welfare of seamen. These provide for their social security, pensions, paid holidays, medical examination, and for the certification of ships' cooks and of able seamen. They also deal with crews' accommodation and the food and catering arrangements for the crew on beard ship. The most far-reaching convention is that fixing minimum wages and maximum hours for seamen in near and distant trade ships. The conventions contain provisions for their coming into force upon ratification by a sufficient number of nations.

Several of these conventions deal with matters that are ordinarily dealt with by industrial agreements, not by legislation, and the conventions in question accordingly provide that effect may be given to their provisions by industrial agreements which establish standards substantially equal to, or better than, those laid down by the conventions. The full text of all the conventions, recommendations and resolutions decided on will be published in a White Paper as soon as possible and the Government will give them their careful and sympathetic consideration.

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