Oral Answers to Questions — Sierra Leone (Labour Conditions).

– in the House of Commons on 5th August 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr David Adams Mr David Adams , Consett

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will give a full account of the safeguards which exist, and the steps taken to create them, in connection with the Defence (Essential Work General Provisions) Order, 1942, of Sierra Leone, under which it is an offence for any workman to be absent twice a month, or two days consecutively, or to be late for work?

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

Although it is true that the worker can be dismissed for these and other offences specified in the Order, he has the right to be reinstated and to receive his normal rate of pay from the date of his dismissal to the date of his reinstatement in any of the following contingencies:—

  1. (a) If he is not, within 48 hours of his dismissal, brought before a court and charged with the offence in question, or
  2. (b) is acquitted of the charge or discharged, or
  3. (c) is convicted of the charge but the sentence imposed does not include either imprisonment or the payment of a fine.
The acts referred to by my hon. Friend are not offences for the purposes of the Order unless committed without reasonable excuse. Before this Order was made its provisions were submitted to the Labour Advisory Board, which includes five labour representatives drawn from the trade unions. The labour representatives, with one exception, agreed with the rest of the Board that the penalties provided for in the Order were necessary in the present exceptional circumstances.

Photo of Mr David Adams Mr David Adams , Consett

Will the Minister take upon himself to look into the operation of this Order in Sierra Leone, as it is declared in the public Press that it is operating with great hardship and that a state of virtual slavery has been restored?

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

Would it not be better to leave these matters to the local authorities?