Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION.

The discussion of this matter was begun at the Eighth Meeting of the Conference, held on Tuesday, the 16th October, 1923. The Secretary of State for Home Affairs moved the the following Resolution :

:

"That a Committee be appointed containing Representatives of Great Britain, the Dominions, India, and the Colonies, to consider the desirability of a common Empire policy as regards the régime applicable under the Workmen's Compensation Laws to non-resident workmen, and to seamen, and to the nationals of foreign countries, according as reciprocity is or is not given by the latter."

In moving this Resolution Mr. Bridgeman said that since 1911 there had been a great development of Workmen's Compensation legislation, and each legislature had worked out its own problem in its own way, with the result that there were considerable divergencies of practice, too wide, in some cases, for any hope of general uniformity being secured throughout the Empire. There were, however, a few points, especially in regard to non-resident workmen, to alien workmen and to seamen, where some uniformity of practice could be arrived at, so that at any rate within the British Empire there should be similarity of treatment for nonresidents and seamen, and also similarity of treatment for foreign workers where other countries reciprocated.

Resolution Receives General Support.

Sir Lomer Gouin said that Canada was fairly well advanced in legislation on that point. Some Provinces had legislated with regard to compensation to non-residents and others were now investigating the matter. He agreed that the question should be referred to a Committee.

Senator Wilson agreed that it was a Committee matter.

Mr. Massey also agreed to the question being referred to a Committee. In New Zealand he thought they had already arranged for reciprocity in the matter of workmen's compensation as between the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and as between New Zealand and Queensland and Western Australia, and what had been done they were quite willing to apply to other Empire countries.

Mr. Burton, Sir Marmaduke Winter and Mr. Innes also agreed to the appointment of a Committee; Mr. Innes observing that the Indian Act already provided for payment of compensation to workmen who were not resident in India, and that the Government of India would welcome either the abolition in other parts of the Empire of restrictions on the payment of compensation in such cases, or reciprocal treatment.

The Committee was appointed accordingly, and reported on the 6th November (see page 568). The Report was discussed by the full Conference at their Twenty-second Meeting, held on Thursday, the 8th November, 1923.

The Recommendations of the Committee.

Mr. Bridgeman said that he had put before the Committee three Resolutions over which they had found themselves largely in agreement and especially over two (Nos. I and II of the Committee's Report) relating to non-residents and seamen. With regard to the third, which dealt with the question of reciprocity in cases of foreign workers, there had not been sufficient agreement to justify the Committee in doing more than asking the different Governments to consider the possibility of adopting the proposals. With regard to the other two a direct invitation had been given to the Governments to take action, subject to a proviso in which attention was called to the fact that in some Dominions Workmen's Compensation falls within the Provincial or State jurisdiction, and outside the control of the Dominion Government.

Mr. Graham said that Canada's Workmen's Compensation legislation came almost solely within the jurisdiction of the Provinces, and he had no objection to the Report. He mentioned that the railways had special Acts under Federal jurisdiction.

Mr. Bruce said that the question of Workmen's Conpensation was a question for the States, but in view of the note referred to by Mr. Bridgeman he accepted the Resolution.

Mr. Massey said that he agreed with the recommendations, in the direction of which indeed New Zealand had already legislated. He desired to put on record a communication from the Labour Department in Wellington which set out the relevant provisions of the existing New Zealand Act (Workers' Compensation Act, 1922).

Mr. Burton understood that his colleague, Mr. De Wet, who was a member of the Committee, was satisfied with the Resolutions, except that he had had something to say about the original resolution which had been modified to meet his views and now appeared as No. III.

Mr. Bridgeman replied that Mr. De Wet had telephoned to say that the modification which had been made met his point.

Mr. Riordan was satisfied with the Report and Resolutions.

Mr. Innes said that the Indian Workmen's Compensation Act was a very recent piece of legislation, and had not in fact come into operation up to that time. It gave effect to the principle of the first two Resolutions they were considering, and, as regards the third Resolution, made no distinction according to the nationality of workmen subject to Indian law. India welcomed any action by other countries in the direction of giving equal rights

to injured workmen employed in them, but he did not think it likely that the Indian Act would be amended in order to narrow its scope by introducing the principle of reciprocity. He quite agreed to all the Resolutions proposed.

Workmen's Compensation Impracticable in most Colonies at

Present.

Sir Gilbert Grindle, speaking on behalf of the Colonies and Protectorates, accepted the Resolutions, but said that conditions in the greater part of the Colonies rendered Workmen's Compensation quite out of the question at present. He mentioned this so that when the next Conference came it would not be thought that if they had not done anything it was due to lack of goodwill. They were considering actively the the introduction of Workmen's Compensation in one or two of the older Colonies.

Resolutions Accepted.

It was decided that Resolutions I, II and III recommended for adoption by the Workmen's Compensation Committee of the Conference be adopted. In adopting these Resolutions the Conference noted that, in certain of the Dominions, Workmen's Compensation falls wholly or partially within Provincial or State jurisdiction, and is in those cases and to that extent outside the control of the Dominion Government.

WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION COMMITTEE.

The constitution of the Committee was as follows:

The Right Hon. W. C. Bridgeman, M.P., Secretary of State for Home Affairs;

The Most Hon. the Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, K.G., G.C.S.I., G.CI.E., Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (or his representative);

His Grace the Duke of Devonshire, K.G., P.C., G.C.M.G.. G.C.V.O., Secretary of State for the Colonies (or his representative);

Mr. G. E. Baker, Mercantile Marine Department, Board of Trade;

The Hon. Sir Lomer Gouin, K.C.M.G., and Mr. R. H. Coats, B.A., F.S.S., Canada;

Senator the Hon. R. V. Wilson, Honorary Minister in charge of Departments of Health and Migration, Commonwealth of Australia:

The Hon. Sir James Allen, K.C.B., High Commissioner for New Zealand;

The Hon. N. J. de Wet, K.C., Minister of Justice, and Mr. W. J.
O'Brien, Union of South Africa;

Mr. E. J. Riordan, Secretary to Trade and Shipping Department,
Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Irish Free State;
The Hon. Sir Patrick T. McGrath, K.B.E., Newfoundland;
Sir E. M. Cook, C.S.I., C.I.E., India;

Sir Gilbert Grindle, K.C.M.G., C.B., Assistant
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies;
Mr. H. G. Bushe, Assistant Legal Adviser to the
Colonial Office.

Colonies and

Protectorates.

Mr. C. M. Knowles, Home Office, and Major R. McK. Oakley, Comptroller-General of Customs, Commonwealth of Australia, acted as joint secretaries to the Committee.

REPORT.

The Workmen's Compensation Committee appointed by the Imperial Economic Conference at its meeting on Tuesday, the 16th October, 1923

"to consider the desirability of a common Empire policy as regards the régime applicable under the Workmen's Compensation laws to non-resident workmen, to seamen and to the nationals of foreign countries according as reciprocity is or is not given by the latter "

submit their Report as follows :—

The Committee have prepared the following Resolutions which they suggest should be submitted for adoption by plenary meetings of the Imperial Economic Conference.

RESOLUTION I.

Non-resident Workmen.

The Committee recommend the adoption by the Imperial Economic Conference of the following Resolution :

"That the Conference, taking note of the existing restrictions in the Workmen's Compensation laws of certain parts of the British Empire on the payment of benefits to workmen and their dependants on the ground of non-residence in the State in which the accident happened, and having regard to the tendency of such restrictions to discourage movement within the Empire, is of opinion that no British subject who is permanently incapacitated, and no dependant of a British subject who has been killed, by accident due to his employment in any part of the Empire should be excluded from any benefit to which he would otherwise be entitled under the Workmen's Compensation law of that part of the Empire on the ground of his removal to or residence in another part of the Empire."

RESOLUTION II.

Seamen.

The Committee recommend the adoption by the Imperial Economic Conference of the following Resolution :

"That the Conference, having had its attention drawn to cases where British sailors injured by accident while serving on ships registered in some part of the Empire have had no claim

[ocr errors]

to compensation owing to the law of that part of the Empire being restricted, in its application to seamen, to accidents occurring within territorial waters or other limited area, is of opinion that the Government of any such part of the Empire should ensure that the benefits of its compensation law will extend to all accidents to seamen serving on ships registered within such part of the Empire wherever the ship may be when the accident takes place. And furthermore the Conference invites the Government of any British Colony or Protectorate where there is a register of shipping but where legislation giving compensation rights to seamen does not at present exist, to consider the adoption of such legislation."

RESOLUTION III.

Aliens.

The Committee recommend the adoption by the Imperial Economic Conference of the following Resolution :

66

That the Conference, taking note of the disabilities imposed under the Workmen's Compensation laws of certain foreign countries on British subjects residing in those countries and their dependants, invites each Government of the Empire, regard being had to its own particular conditions, to consider the possibility of adopting in workmen's compensation legislation, the principle of reciprocity, that is, that the benefits of such legislation should be accorded to subjects of foreign countries upon the condition that and to the extent to which such foreign countries accord reciprocal treatment to British subjects."

The Conference notes in adopting the foregoing Resolutions that, in certain of the Dominions, Workmen's Compensation falls wholly or partially within Provincial or State jurisdiction and is in those cases and to that extent outside the control of the Dominion Government.

November 6, 1923.

Signed on behalf of the Committee,
W. C. BRIDGEMAN, Chairman.

« ZurückWeiter »