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Antigua (Labour Relations)

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the American company, Mill Reef Properties, Limited, operating in Antigua, has refused to recognise established trade union representatives speaking for its employees; and whether the Government of Antigua will take steps to inform all foreign companies that they are expected to conform to the normal standard of labour relations established in the island.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that Americans who have bought plantations in the island of Antigua are declining to recognise the unions to which their workers belong, or to sign any agreement with them, on the ground that these workers are coloured, although British employers, including those engaged in the sugar, cotton and rum industries and in commerce, recognise the unions and many of them have established works committees with union representation; and whether he will take steps to ensure that the American owners respect the local labour relations and customs and refrain from introducing racial segregation into the island.

Fewer than half the men employed by Mill Reef Properties are union members. The company is prepared to discuss complaints with representatives of the workers whether unionists or non-unionists in meetings arranged by the Leeward Island Labour Department and in arbitration proceedings. This is in accordance with normal labour relations procedure in Antigua. General allegations of racial prejudice and discriminatory practices have been made since the dispute began but have not been substantiated.

In view of that answer and of the fact that President Truman has declared emphatically in favour of no racial discrimination in this matter, will the Government indicate that so far as labour relations in these islands are concerned it is their desire that there shall be no racial discrimination?