HC Deb 11 June 1947 vol 438 cc110-1W
71. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what information he can give the House respecting the alleged denial of trade union rights in Ceylon and the strike now taking place; and what action is being taken to deal with the matter.

Mr. Creech Jones

Reasons for the present restrictions on trade union rights for public servants are given in detail in a Sessional Paper recently issued by the Government of Ceylon, a copy of which is being placed in the Library for the convenience of Members The Ceylon Government have decided that the question of the extension of such rights, a matter which is entirely within then competence, must await consideration by the first Parliament under the new Constitution. Meanwhile, however, it is proposed to begin preparatory work on the establishment of Whitley Council machinery, and an expert on this subject is now on his way to Ceylon to offer advice.

The strike to which my hon. Friend refers has involved members of the Government Clerical Service, other Government servants and employees of private firms. Most of the Government clerks are now back at work. The harbour strike continues, but has not interfered with the essential discharge of foodstuffs, etc. The railway and postal services are now functioning normally. In private services the strikes continue in oil, gas and engineering companies. The Ceylon Government have taken firm action to prevent a breakdown of the administrative machine.