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Civil Service Organisations (Representations)

Volume 640: debated on Thursday 11 May 1961

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36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give a list of the Civil Service representative organisations in East and Central Africa from whom he has received representations about their future conditions of service during the last six months; and what machinery exists for settling these grievances.

I have received representations on various aspects of conditions of service from a number of associations, a list of which I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Representations are submitted to me under the provisions of Colonial Regulations and full consideration is given to them in consultation with the Governor of the territory concerned or the Administrator of the East Africa High Commission. I have met representatives of several of the associations, either in East Africa or in London.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this file, which contains, very exceptionally, all the memorials I have received in the last three months on the subject of conditions of Asians, Europeans and others in these territories, is without precedent in my experience? Does he not think that, in view of this astounding spate of complaints which are being made about the implementation of the Flemming Report, some new machinery might be needed to arbitrate between himself and the Treasury, on the one hand, and the Colonial Civil Service, on the other, as undoubtedly they are feeling a strong sense of grievance?

I do not think that is surprising. I have received a great number of delegations recently and a considerable number of representations about East Africa. That is not surprising either, because Tanganyika is moving swiftly towards independence. That has repercussions in that territory and in others, and naturally all the associations write to inquire about these matters. On the question of whether there should be arbitration or not, I think associations should be—as they are—fully consulted. After all, representations are part of the machinery and it is inevitable that these matters should be considered on a Government basis.

While this House has much sympathy with the pension problems of retired civil servants and the effect on the morale of existing civil servants, does not my right hon. Friend think that the implementation of the Flemming Report will bring great benefits to those at present serving? Will he also agree that over-statement of their case by some associations is to be regretted?

Yes, I do very much. The surest proof of that is the anxiety I find among people and staff associations representing other territories not covered by the original Flemming Report to have similar conditions of service attached to them.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is not the first group of territories which has reached self-government but I have never known anything like this coming from them before? Some of us are not allowed to say that these claims are over-stated because we do not know. Is it not right that the Colonial Secretary should adhere to the normal practice, that if there is a dispute on which Members of Parliament cannot arbitrate—we cannot ask for the details—there should be some machinery able to look at this again to see whether the implementation of the Flemming Report is being pursued properly or not?

I should be very glad if the hon. Member would like to send to me a commentary on some of the memorials he has received. There is no question of a change of policy, but this is inevitable because we have had both the H.M.O.C.S. scheme and the Flemming Report together. It is right that we should have these representations from East Africa. If he would like to see me further about the machinery I would be glad to see him, but my impression is that on these matters concerning Governments in East Africa which are at different stages of evolution and economy for this country to arbitrate would not be a suitable method of settling differences.

Will my right hon. Friend undertake to keep the House well informed on the situation in Tanganyika? I am sure he will agree that this should be done on two scores. First, the future employment of overseas civil servants who lose their positions. Secondly, the danger that the newly independent Government of Kenya may be so depleted of talented service as to have their efficiency impaired? Will he assure the House that he will keep us well informed and devote all his efforts towards avoiding these two dangers?

I will do that. This is one of the matters I will be discussing next month with the Tanganyika Ministers when they come here.

Following is the list:

  • Tanganyika European Civil Servants' Association.
  • Tanganyika Asian Civil Servants' Association.
  • Tanganyika Overseas Recruited Asian Government Servants' Union.
  • Railway Asian Union, Tanganyika.
  • Customs Asian Union, Tanganyika.
  • Kenya Civil Servants' Union.
  • Senior Civil Servants' Association of Kenya.
  • Clerical and Allied Civil Servants' Association of Kenya.
  • Asian Postal Union, Kenya.
  • The East Africa High Commission Association of Professional, Technical and Executive Officers (various branches).
  • The East Africa Posts and Telecommunications European Staff Association (various branches).
  • The East Africa Railways and Harbours European Staff Association (various branches).
  • The East Africa High Commission Non-Self-Contained Departments European Staff Association, Tanganyika.
  • The Federation of the East Africa High Commission European Staff Associations (Tanganyika).
  • High Commission African Staff Union (Kenya).
  • Posts and Telecommunications African Workers Union (Kenya).
  • Uganda Railway African Union.
  • Uganda Asian Civil Servants' Association.
  • Uganda African Civil Servants' Association
  • Zanzibar European Civil Servants' Association.
  • Nyasaland Senior Civil Servants' Association.