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Thursday, 11 July 1946

Mr FRANCIS (Moreton) .- I repeat the demand which I made in my second-reading speech that the Minister should give a definite and unqualified assurance that those persons who, at the time 'of this agreement, were employed by Cable and Wireless Limited, should have preserved their continuity of employment, long-service leave, pension and superannuation rights, retiring allowances, and furlough. When they joined the organization in its infancy they acquired those rights. They have endured the " heat and burden of the day" in the service of the company. They have been stationed in many distant parts of the British Empire. Although the Minister has forecast a number of amendments to clause IS, none of - them gives the assurance which I seek on behalf of the employees. The Minister undertook to examine my representations. Last night, when I discussed the matter with him, I was perfectly satisfied that provision had not been made to preserve the rights of these employees. Originally, many of them were employed by the British company, but later they transferred to the service of the Australian company. When they did so, they were promised certain things. 'I ask the Minister to indicate to me where all the points which 1 have raised artcovered in clauses 18 and 23. If my information is correct, there are two agreements - one between the Australian company and its employees, and the other between the British company and its employees. Does the bill protect the rights of the men. who belonged recently to the British organization, and the employees of the Australian company? I also invite the Minister to explain whether preference in employment to exservicemen will be observed in the forthcoming reorganization ?

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