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Trade Union Elections

Volume 411: debated on Wednesday 13 June 1945

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18.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the trade election returns for 128 Greek unions in Athens and Piræus up to 1st June, 1945, give a total of 25,066 votes cast for Ergas and 8,083 for Hadjidemetriou and all other groups; whether he will publish the report of the British Trades Union Congress delegation which was sent to Greece to supervise these elections; and whether he will make representations to the Greek Government to allow the unions all the normal freedoms allowed in a democracy.

I understand that the newspaper of the Greek Communist Party in Athens has quoted figures similar to those given by the hon. Member. I do not know on what these figures are based, and I am certainly not prepared to vouch for their accuracy. I believe that any figures given for the results of the Trades Union elections in Greece must for the present be somewhat speculative, but those quoted by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 30th May were compiled from the official lists in the workers centres, and I think they are the best available at present. As regards the second part of the Question, I am not aware that the T.U.C. Delegation have written a report on the elections. A decision as regards publication would in any case, rest with the T.U.C. and not with His Majesty's Government, since the Delegation is not an official Government mission. As regards the last part of the Question, I have no reason to suppose that the Greek Government will attempt to limit the freedom of the Greek trades unions. I have seen no suggestion that they have tried to intervene or to tamper with the conduct of the elections.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Mr. Hadjidemetriou has resigned his post owing to lack of support in the election?

I do not think that that affects the answer that I have given. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the figures the hon. Member gives in his Question, and I think any figures at present must be highly speculative.

Would the right hon. Gentleman regard them as speculative if they had been the other way round?

I do not see what the hon. Member means by "if they had been the other way round." I should not be at all surprised if they were the other way round.

Is not Greece an independent State, and is it not the established policy of the Government never to interfere in the internal affairs of an independent State?

Is the system of voting in Greece individual or block voting, as in Great Britain, where one political boss votes for 100,000 people?