asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the hardship caused to some thousand employees of the Fung-keong rubber factory, Hong Kong, by the recent stoppage of work at this factory; whether work has now been resumed; and what steps have been taken to secure employment for these workers either in this factory or elsewhere.
Yes, Sir. The high cost of rubber and failure to maintain their position in the United Kingdom markets forced the factory to close. Discussions about re-opening have been held continuously between the management and the trade unions concerned, but, until the competitive position of this factory is restored, re-opening is unlikely. Some of the workers, I am glad to say, have found other employment.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the trade unions concerned have had great difficulty in getting any satisfactory consultation at all, and can he say what help was given by the Labour Office?
I understand that the matter has been continuously discussed. If my hon. Friend has any information as to the difficulties that unions have met in regard to consultation, I shall be glad to receive that information and to make inquiries into it.