Industrial Dispute, Trinidad.

Oral Answers to Questions — West Indies. – in the House of Commons on 25th February 1942.

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Dr. Morgan:

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies on what terms the recent strike of the scavengers of the corporation of Port of Spain, Trinidad, was settled; is he aware that the men came out on strike demanding immediate payment of war bonus for 1940 and that, during the strike, the streets were kept clear by prisoners from the royal jail and the Young Offenders' Detention Institution; whether this was ordered by the Trinidad Government; whether the prisoners were specially remunerated for this work outside their routine prison tasks; and whether proper machinery, either by Whitley Councils or wages boards or arbitration tribunals for the settlement of such industrial disputes, has yet been set up in Trinidad?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

My Noble Friend has received no information from the Governor as to this strike, and on the face of it he would regard the matter as entirely one for the discretion of the local authorities. With regard to the last part of the Question, it is the policy of the Colonial Government to assist the settle- ment of industrial disputes by encouraging the organisation of workers into responsible trade unions and by promoting the establishment of conciliation boards and other machinery designed to develop collective bargaining. Considerable progress has been made in these matters in the last few years in Trinidad.

Dr. Morgan:

Is it a recognised practice now in the Colonies for prisoners to be used upon strike-breaking work?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

No, Sir. But we have not been able to obtain full information, and my Noble Friend cannot for the moment do more than leave the matter in the hands of the local administration.

Dr. Morgan:

But are not these facts undeniable?