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South Africa (Ec Code Of Conduct)

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on how British companies have complied with the European Community code of conduct for companies with interests in South Africa during the 12-month period to 30 June 1987.

By 18 March 1988, 128 companies had submitted reports to the DTI under the code of conduct. Copies of the reports and of the Department's analysis and summary have, as in previous years, been placed in the Library of each House. These documents may also be inspected at the Department's statistics and market intelligence library, at the British embassy in Pretoria, at the British consulate-general in Johannesburg, and at the British consulates in Cape Town and Durban.The analysis and summary is the second since the adoption of the revised code of conduct by EC Foreign Ministers in November 1985. The period under review was again characterised by an inflation rate which was significantly higher than the average rate of wage increases. Against this background, the performance of British subsidiaries in further reducing the number of their black employees paid below the code's recommended minimum level is particularly encouraging. Companies' reports for the period under review indicated that over 97 per cent. were paid above that level. In addition, companies continued to report impressive levels of involvement in projects benefiting the wider communities from which their work forces were drawn.The Government are grateful to companies for this year's unprecedented level of co-operation in providing reports, and urge them to maintain this performance and to comply fully with the code.