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Dock Workers' Strike

Volume 481: debated on Wednesday 29 November 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that war-time legislation has been used to coerce dock workers, loading mahogany in the s.s. "Husvik" at Belize, British Honduras, who went on strike for higher wages and whether he will inquire into the matter.

The Governor informs me that this strike was a breach of the British Honduras Essential Works (Trade Disputes) Order, 1944. This Order makes provision for compulsory arbitration in disputes involving essential services, which includes loading and unloading of ocean-going ships. The Governor has referred the dispute to a tribunal set up under the Order.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that not only the workers but people generally fail to understand why the loading of merchandise in peace-time should be regarded as an essential service?

In a country like British Honduras, where there is already unemployment, difficulty in getting an adequate amount of work and getting the economy of the Colony to work as satisfactorily as it might, an item of such importance as the export trade is bound to be something which is considered by the Government to be essential.