HC Deb 18 February 1948 vol 447 cc231-2W
81. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he now considers the trade union law in the Colonies as satisfactory; in which Colonies unregistered trade unions are not allowed to function and what is the reason for this prohibition.

Mr. Rees-Williams

In the great majority of Colonial territories the trade union legislation is satisfactory. In general, steps have been taken to remove from Colonial trade union legislation all such provisions as were analogous to those of the United Kingdom Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act, 1927, now repealed. In certain instances, however, my right hon. Friend has satisfied himself that local circumstances are so exceptional as to justify the temporary retention of certain of these provisions, but the necessity for this measure will be constantly reviewed.

The legislation of the Bahamas, Bermuda, Brunei, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Federation of Malaya does not at present satisfy the requirements of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940, as regards grants towards the cost of works schemes. The necessary legislation in Brunei and Hong Kong is about to be enacted. In the case of Singapore and the Federation of Malaya amendment of the existing legislation is under consideration. Bermuda does not propose to apply for assistance under the Act, while the participation of the Bahamas is limited to schemes not involving works services.

As regards the second part of the Question, compulsory registration of trade unions is a principle adhered to in all Colonial trade union legislation without exception. It is regarded as essential to the proper growth and development of sound trade unionism in Colonial territories.