Rhodesia (Migrant Labour).

Oral Answers to Questions — Palestine. – in the House of Commons on 18th November 1936.

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Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that employers in Rhodesia are enticing natives from Nyasaland to proceed to that territory to work and that some of the promises made by their would-be employers Are not being implemented, with dire results to some of those natives; and will he take steps to remedy this state of things?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

While I have no knowledge of any cases of individual employers enticing labourers from Nyasaland, I am aware that large numbers of such natives seek work in Rhodesia and steps have already been taken to inquire into the conditions of employment of Nyasaland natives in Rhodesia. A senior administrative officer in the Nyasaland Government service has been instructed to visit Southern Rhodesia and to report on the position.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is no place in the British Empire where labour, both white and coloured, is treated with greater humanity and consideration than in Southern Rhodesia?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

I have no reason to suppose that the labour conditions in Southern Rhodesia are subject to any serious trouble, but we have had a disquieting report of the number of Nyasaland natives leaving the country, particularly Northern Nyasaland, and it is equally important to know what is happening to those Nyasaland natives in other people's territory.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

Is it not because the terms of employment in Southern Rhodesia are so good; and will my right hon. Friend accept my view, as I have been out there?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

It is true that in Northern Rhodesia there is considerable mining development, and, of course, far higher wages are paid to natives working in mines than to those who work on farms or in agricultural employment.

Photo of Captain James Duncan Captain James Duncan , Kensington North

Is my right hon. Friend sure that the disquieting report comes from Southern Rhodesia and not from Northern Rhodesia?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

The disquieting report comes from Nyasaland itself as to the unduly large number of Nyasaland natives who are leaving the country And leaving their womenfolk and the old people unattended.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

Is it not because the conditions are so good?

Photo of Mr Edward Williams Mr Edward Williams , Ogmore

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in view of the wide questions raised on the matter of migrant labour by the Nyasaland Commission, whether he will withhold his approval of the provisional agreement on migrant native labour concluded between the Governments of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland until he has had an opportunity of receiving representations from persons interested in native welfare?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

I have already informed the Governors of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland that I propose to withhold my definite sanction of the provisional agreement until I have received and considered any public comments thereon.