HC Deb 04 April 1887 vol 313 cc346-7
MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)

asked the Postmaster General, Whether information has reached him that much dissatisfaction has arisen among the operators in the Telegraph Department of the General Post Office, Edinburgh, by reason of certain promotions recently made in that department; whether the supervising class in the department has recently been increased by two supervisors; whether one of the men, who for several years past has performed the duty of relieving the supervisors during their holidays, has been passed over in appointing the new supervisors; whether it would have been in accordance with the usual practice of the department to appoint this man to one of the new supervisorships; and, if so, why has it not been done in this case; whether the first class of telegraphists has recently been increased by fourteen; whether thirteen appointments have already been made; whether the thirteen telegraphists who stood at the head of the second class, some of whom had fifteen years experience, have been passed over in making those appointments; and, if so, why; whether, in making those appointments, one man has been promoted over the heads of seven others, another over fourteen, another over eighteen; whether another has been placed in the first class, although his number in the second class was forty-seven; whether this latter telegraphist is related to the Superintendent of Telegraphs in the Edinburgh Office; whether one of the telegraphists, who has been placed in the first class, is unable to work some of the instruments in the Edinburgh office; whether another, by reason of a disabled arm, is physically incapacitated for performing work as an operator; and, if these matters or any of them are as stated, what is the explanation?

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)

I have no reason to believe that the promotions to which the first part of the Question refers have given rise to general dissatisfaction. With some exceptions, the answers to the honourable Member's subsequent Questions are in the affirmative. Of those standing at the head of the second class of telegraphists, the number passed over is five, and not 13; no one of those promoted is physically incapacitated for performing work as an operator; and all are able to work the instruments in the Edinburgh Office. The reasons for passing over the acting supervisor and the five telegraphists are that the telegraphists are not considered fit for the duties of the first class, and the acting supervisor has seriously misconducted himself. The telegraphist who stood 47 on the second class is, I understand, connected with the Superintendent by marriage. He had longer service and greater experience than any other member of the same class, the reason of his occupying so low a position being that some years ago he left Edinburgh for Greenock, and returned only in 1882, re-entering at the bottom of the Office. Since his re-entry he has been constantly employed on first class duties.