THE CATHOLIC Institute for International Relations has condemned a move by the Secretary of State for Trade, Peter Shore, relaxing the requirements on British companies operating in South Africa to make public the wages and conditions of black employees.
In December, 1974, following the report of a Select Committee of the House of Commons, the Government issued a White Paper which requested all companies holding more than 10 per cent equity in a South African company to publish information concerning A Florida Appeals Court has upheld the right of an unborn child to receive support payments from its illegitimate father. The court denied the claim of a father that the Supreme Court ruling allowing legalised abortion meant that the unborn had no protection under the law. the wages and conditions of their black workers.
In response to this the South African Government made a law making it illegal for anyone "in compliance with any order, directions or letters of request issued or emanating from outside the Republic Rol furnish any information as to any business whether carried on in or outside the Republic."
Mr Shore has now agreed that only those companies holding at least 50 per cent equity in a South African subsidiary need comply with the request to publish the information.
In a statement issued last week CIIR called this move "a ' lamentable climb-down in the face of South African pressure." The information was essential to concerned shareholders, including' the Churches, who wished to monitor the performance of their companies with regard to wages and conditions of the black labour force and to apply pressure for improvement.
CIIR said that the new guidelines from Mr Shore were totally unacceptable. "They fly in the face of the spirit of the Select Committee's findings, and completely undermine the efforts of those who seek to improve the lot of black workers in South Africa. The principle of public accountability is thwarted by the denial of information." CIIR said.