§ Mr. Rees-Williams
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reports he has received from the Governor of Singapore as to the origin of the recent strikes there; which of the political parties has supported the strikes; and what are the industrial grievances which the strikers desire to remedy.
Mr. Creech Jones
I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the recent strike of seven unions, representing sections of municipal employees outside the Government and Municipal Labour Union, to which I referred in reply to the hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Gammans) on 29th January. I have received further information from the Governor, although I still await a full report. I learn that on the 28th December last these unions, which unlike the Government and Municipal Labour Union were not registered, put forward twenty demands. Sixteen of these demands had already been discussed in joint conferences between the Government Departments concerned and the registered Government and Municipal Labour Union, with whom general agreement upon them had been reached. In view of this agreement on these points the Municipal Commissioners were disinclined to negotiate with the unregistered unions and replied suggesting that they should take steps to regularise their position when discussions would be held. Early in January five of the unions concerned applied for registration. But they went on strike as from the 21st January after ignoring two invitations to meet the President of the Commissioners for discussions.180W
The Malayan Democratic Union has expressed sympathy with the strikers, and the Singapore representative of the Malayan Communist Party has stated that he considers the strike reasonable.
The Governor states that the principal demands of the Singapore Municipal strikers were as follow:
- (1)Wage increases.
- (2)Increase in cost of living allowance.
- (3)Provision of more rice.
- (4)Rent allowance.
- (5)Back pay for whole period of Japanese occupation.
- (6)Free medical attention and full pay for whole duration of any illness (instead of for 42 days).
- (7)Two months' rehabilitation grant.
- (8)Housing allowance.
- (9)Sunday to be paid holiday.
- (10)Double rates of pay for overtime (instead of time and a half).
- (11)Strike pay.