§ 39. Mr. Swingler
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Central African Office) if he will make a statement on the nature of the current dispute between African minerworkers and the companies on the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt, on which a commission of inquiry has been set up by the Government, stating, in particular, the current hourly rates of wages, hours 63W of work, and annual paid holidays for African workers as compared with wages paid, hours worked, and holidays enjoyed, by white workers.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
On 3rd February, the Northern Rhodesian Government announced its intention to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to deal,inter alia, with a claim of the African Mineworkers' Union for increased wages and leave conditions. The unions, on 5th March, asked the companies to make an offer on their demands: on 26th March the companies declined to do so, and the unions called a strike on 2nd May.
The wage structure of the industry is extremely complicated and I will write to the hon. Member with such details as I can obtain.