HC Deb 28 February 1881 vol 258 cc1857-8

asked the Postmaster General, Whether instructions have been given to Post Office surveyors to compel telegraph clerks at Folkestone and Tunbridge to sign themselves over to Postal duties under the title of "Postal Clerks," and to undergo a second Civil Service Examination; if so, if he could state for what purpose; and, whether Post Office officials have been directed to ascertain, from various Public Departments, from Railway Companies, and from Foreign Telegraph Companies, the number of clerks that might be available to undertake Postal telegraph duties?


Sir, with the object of securing greater administrative efficiency, a proposal was sanctioned in July last for amalgamating at Folkestone the postal and telegraph force. Some of these Folkestone telegraphists who were admitted to the service subsequently to the transfer of the telegraphs to the State, and who have never passed a Civil Service examination, will have to pass an examination; but one of a most simple kind, consisting only of dictation and the first four rules of arithmetic. I believe the result of the change will be not only advantageous to the public, but also to those who are employed in the Post Office there. No such change has been carried out at Tunbridge, and I shall not sanction any similar changes until I have come to a decision in reference to the inquiry I am now making with regard to the position, as to pay and promotion, of the telegraphists. With regard to the latter part of my hon. Friend's Question, no steps have been taken to ascertain from Railway and Telegraph Companies what number of telegraphists might be available for employment by the Post Office. I think what is probably referred to are certain inquiries which I have made with the view of ascertaining what is the remuneration given by private persons or public companies for work of a somewhat similar description to that which is done by the telegraphists employed by the Post Office.