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Indian Seamen (Conditions Of Service)

Volume 395: debated on Thursday 2 December 1943

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55.

asked the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the complaints of the All India Seamen's Centre, 35, Portree Street, Poplar, E.14, against the low wages and unfair conditions of employment covering Indian seamen; and whether his Department is interesting itself in this problem?

Yes, Sir, I have forwarded a memorandum by the All India Seamen's Centre to the Government of India, who already have under active consideration the conditions of service of Indian seamen. In the meantime I am glad to say that steps were taken some time ago to alter the methods of recruitment at Calcutta and to improve shore accommodation in this country.

Is there any Department of State in India akin to our own Ministry of Labour which interests itself in the conditions of employment of Indian seamen, and will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that these seamen are employed on British-owned ships and that we therefore have some responsibility in the matter?

Yes, Sir, there is, of course, an efficient Department of Labour of the Government of India, but I understand the question of seamen comes under the Department of Commerce and is engaging the active consideration of the member of the Executive Council in charge of that Department.