Chinese Seamen (War Risk Money)

Oral Answers to Questions — Merchant Navy – in the House of Commons on 21st October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Walter Windsor Mr Walter Windsor , Kingston upon Hull Central

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction that exists among Chinese seamen about the payment of war risk bonus; and whether he will' have inquiries made into this matter to avoid disturb ances like that which recently occurred on board ship at a place named to him?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

No, Sir, I am not aware of dissatisfaction amongst Chinese seamen serving in British ocean-going ships in regard to the payment of war risk money. In fact, they receive the same amount of war risk money as our own seamen. The disturbance to which my hon. Friend refers arose out of a dispute about conditions of service prior to the conclusion of the Anglo-Chinese Agreement which now regulates conditions of service for Chinese seamen in British ocean-going vessels.

Photo of Mr Walter Windsor Mr Walter Windsor , Kingston upon Hull Central

Is it not a fact that these people were promised a £10 bonus and that £7 was taken away on board ship?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

No. There was an unfortunate misunderstanding on the part, first, of the purser and then of the crew as to the date at which payment of the war bonus would begin. That is how the trouble started.