asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies why the Jamaica Government declared that the Railway Workers' Union was illegal; and what he intends doing about the matter?
On 22nd October, Defence Regulations entitled "The Authorised Associations (Government Departments) (Derence) Regulations" were published in Jamaica and came into force, the effect or which was to exclude all non-employees from membership or office in the departmental trade unions except by the Governor's authority. My Noble Friend is informed that this action became necessary in view of the key positions in relation to vital services occupied by some of the office holders, not departmentally employed, who were known to be engaged in subversive activities. My Noble Friend's approval was not obtained before the Regulations were issued. He is already in consultation with the Governor in regard to the situation.
Will the right hon. Gentleman say what is meant by "subversive activities," and, secondly, will he make certain that Jamaican trade unionists have exactly the same rights as British trade unionists?
With regard to the first question, similar Regulations are applied in this country, and people have been detained under Regulation 18B. On the second point, my Noble Friend is in consultation with the Governor, and I hope to make a statement shortly.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that leaders of the North Rhodesian Copper Workers' Union were imprisoned for what is called subversive activity in making demands for a cost of living bonus on their wages and for the establishment of a pension scheme?
If I may be allowed to answer that question, which is not related to the Question on the Paper, both statements by my hon. Friend are incorrect. No demands of that kind had been made, and no trade dispute of any sort or kind existed at the time in the North Rhodesian Copperbelt.