HC Deb 18 March 1887 vol 312 cc715-6
MR. BROADHURST (Nottingham, W.)

asked the Postmaster General, Whether he is aware that the utmost dissatisfaction exists in almost every Telegraph Office in the United Kingdom, owing to the fact that in the Postal Branch the number of "superior appointments" largely exceeds that of similar appointments in the Telegraph Branch, although the Telegraph Staff, in the aggregate, exceeds in most cases that of the Postal Branch, and the duties performed in the Telegraph Branch are, if not superior, at least equal to those in the Postal Branch; and, whether, if he finds this to be so, he will endeavour to equalize, as far as possible, the "superior appointments" in the two Branches?

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

I am not aware of any great dissatisfaction such as is stated to exist in almost every telegraph office. The number of superior appointments allotted to each post office is regulated strictly according to the number of supervising or other superior duties to be performed. For the indoor telegraph work a smaller number of supervising officers is required than for the indoor postal work. the postal work, in contradistinction to the telegraph work, comprises several branches, such as the receipt and disposal of mails, including letters both ordinary and registered, be ok packets, newspapers, and parcels, the transaction of money order, savings banks, insurance, and annuity business, the sale of stamps, both postal and inland revenue, the issue of inland revenue licences, and the general charge of the accounts, including, in some cases, large money responsibility. Of the total gross revenue earned by the Department less than one-fifth consists of revenue from telegraph business. These several duties must at largo offices be conducted in more separate rooms than the telegraph business; and they, therefore, require for their efficient performance a larger number of superior officers in proportion to the whole of the postal staff than are required in the Telegraph Office, in which there is no such diversity of duty. Under these circumstance, it would not be right to endeavour, as the hon. Member suggests, to equalize the superior appointments in the two Branches of the Service by creating appointments for which there are no corresponding duties. I may add that the complaint made can only apply to the very largo Provincial Head Offices, about 60 in number, as only at those offices separate staffs are employed for postal and telegraph work. At all the other Head Post Offices, about 850 in number, there is one establishment for both Branches.