HC Deb 12 February 1947 vol 433 cc68-9W
91. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will assure the House that workers of Trinidad have the same trade union rights, procedure agreements and negotiating machinery as the workers in this country; or what steps he proposes to take for their early introduction.

Mr. Creech Jones

The trade unions and the Trade Disputes and Protection of Property Ordinance of Trinidad are based on United Kingdom law. At present they include some of the provisions (for example, Sections 3 and 4) of the United Kingdom Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act, 1927, but some time ago I invited the Government of Trinidad to repeal these provisions and this was being considered when recent disturbances occurred. The policy of the Government of Trinidad is to encourage, whenever possible, collective bargaining by direct negotiation between employers and workers; and successful agreements have been reached in this way in the oil and sugar industries, where there are a Joint Conciliation Board and a Joint Consultative Committee respectively. In any case, it is a primary function of the Industrial Adviser to the Government and his staff to endeavour to bring about the settlement of disputes by conciliation. The Trinidad Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Enquiry) Ordinance, 1938, which is based on the United Kingdom Industrial Courts Act, empowers the Governor, where a trade dispute exists or is apprehended, and subject to the consent of both parties to the dispute, to refer the matter for settlement to an Arbitration Tribunal.

92. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will consider sending an industrial adviser to Trinidad who is a trade unionist and understands fully trade union rules and procedure.

Mr. Creech Jones

As indicated in my reply to other Questions on today's Paper, I hope to arrange for a visit to Trinidad by an individual with full knowledge and understanding of trade union rules and procedure. I should add that recently the post of Industrial Adviser became vacant and I have been considering the selection of a suitable candidate. The Deputy Industrial Adviser is acting as Head of the Department, which also has a Labour Officer and an adequate clerical staff.