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Volume 655: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1962

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he is taking to deal with the present industrial unrest in Aden.

I do not accept that a situation amounting to industrial unrest exists in Aden.

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that Aden was on the brink of a general strike, and does he not know that two trade unionists are serving long prison sentences because of the part they were playing in organising the trade unions there? Would not a general strike constitute industrial unrest, and what does he propose to do about it?

A general strike would constitute industrial unrest, but the figures I have show that whereas in 1959 and the first half of 1960 there were 118 strikes, in the whole of 1961 there were only three. We should not, I think, exaggerate.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the great diminution in the number of strikes was due to the ordinance which he had passed prohibiting strikes? In the circumstances, would it not have been better to make that quite clear with reference to the causes and the extent of industrial difficulties which exist in Aden at present?

The effect of the ordinance was that although there were 99 industrial disputes last year 96 were settled by the machinery envisaged in the industrial relations ordinance. It has been very successful.