§ 67. Mr. Edmund Harvey
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the rate of wages now paid to workers on the sugar estates in Mauritius; and how far they are adequate to meet the estimate given in Major Orde-Brown's Report of the cost of living of a labourer with a wife and two children.
§ Colonel Stanley
The rate of wages of workers on sugar estates in Mauritius has recently been revised. I will circulate detailed figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT. As regards the second part of the Question, I am informed that there is at present a shortage of meat and pulses which has caused a temporary increase in the price of foodstuffs, other than rationed commodities which are held at reasonable levels. This difficulty would not be relieved by a further increase of wages; the remedy is to increase the imports of meat and pulses, and every effort is being made to arrange this.
§ Following are the detailed figures:
§ The minimum rate monthly was increased by 27 per cent. on the rate in force on the 1st July, 1943, and the war bonus was increased from 20 per cent. to 30 per cent. Both these increases took effect as from the 1st October. The minimum rates for monthly workers now in force are as follows:
- (a) first category, Rs.33 per mensem.
- (b) second category, Rs.29.72 per mensem.
- (c) factory workers, drivers, Rs.35.75 per mensem; assistant drivers, Rs.33.80 per mensem.
§ In all cases above rates include bonus. The wages of all other categories of monthly employed workers have been increased by same percentages. The majority of workers employed by day are paid piece rates, and by free bargaining they have been able to gain satisfactory increases for themselves, and rates have been relatively high throughout the year, 181 owing to the demand for labour. A reasonably industrious man can earn up to Rs.3 per day during the crop season, and up to Rs.1.50 per day during the period January to July.