HC Deb 26 April 1870 vol 200 cc1815-6

said, he would beg to ask the Postmaster General, Whether letter carriers who had called a meeting of their body for Good Friday were menaced by circular with dismissal if they attended the same; and, if true, under what Statute such circular was issued; and, whether the Postmaster General will introduce a Bill to repeal the same?


, in reply, said, that certain letter carriers had announced their intention to hold a meeting on Good Friday, for the purpose, among other objects, of hearing a paper read on the position and prospects of Post Office employés, and inviting discussion on the subject. That proposed discussion would have been in direct violation of a rule laid down by his (the Marquess of Hartington's) predecessor (Lord Stanley of Alderley), which forbade, on pain of dismissal, the holding, by officers of the Department, of any meeting beyond the walls of the Post Office building for the discussion of official questions. The enforcement of that rule had been attended with great advantage not only to the Department, but to the letter carriers themselves. There was no obstacle whatever in the way of the letter carriers, or other servants of the Department, making what remonstrances and representations they thought proper to their superior officers; and when couched in proper and respectful terms, such representations were always fully considered, and the instances were very rare in which they had not been attended to. But he did not think it was to be tolerated that a regular system of organized agitation should be encouraged or allowed, the object perhaps being the enlistment in their cause of political influence. The only possible result that could ensue from such agitation was, that the letter carriers, or other servants of the Post Office, were made discontented with their present position, and some of them, as had been the case in past times, might be led to acts or words which would involve the forfeiture of their situations. There was no statute on the subject, and he had no intention to bring in a Bill to rescind the order.