HC Deb 28 April 1890 vol 343 cc1530-2
MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether it is a fact that, in the recent promotions in Liverpool, Messrs. R. J. Thompson and W. Clucas, the Chairman and Secretary of the Local Branch of the United Kingdom Postal Clerks' Association, have been superseded by officers junior to themselves; whether these officers have, for some years, been performing duties of the superior class in a perfectly satisfactory manner; and, whether, in view of the undertaking given by the Postmaster General in March last, that connection with on Association or Union should not detrimentally affect any officer's official career, he will state the reasons for not promoting these gentlemen in due course?


It is the case that Messrs. Thompson and Clucas are not among the members of the Liverpool Post Office who have been recently promoted, and that others, junior to themselves, have been placed above them. It is also the case that, occasionally, during the temporary absence of Members of the class immediately above them, these two officers have, in common with others, been called upon to perform the duties of the absentees. But it is not the case that they have for some years been performing those duties in a perfectly satisfactory manner. On the contrary, their conduct, even in the discharge of their own duties, has not been such as to deserve promotion or to leave me any alternative but to pass them over. That they were members of any particular Association was not even known to me, and the Postmaster of Liverpool, on whose recommendation the promotions were made, assures me that he also was unaware of the circumstance. In order to show how little such considerations influence the decision, I may add—a circumstance which had not come to my knowledge until to-day—that Mr. Thompson's predecessor in the Association to which the hon. Member refers, and also an officer who is an office-bearer in another Society of similar character, are among those who have been recently promoted, and I am pleased to hear that in both cases the selection has been amply justified.


I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether the promotions in the Liverpool Post Office, recently referred to by the Postmaster General, are practically confined to the supervising classes; whether any immediate benefit is to be conferred upon the general body of sorting clerks; and whether sorting clerks will be called upon to give evidence before the Departmental Committee appointed to inquire into their grievances?


The Liverpool promotions concerned only the supervising classes, and the class which is intermediate between the supervisors and the general body of the staff, as I explained to the House on the 15th instant. The questions relating to this general body are of a much more complicated character, and, as the hon. Member is aware, are being examined by a Departmental Committee. It will be obvious that I have come to no conclusions on these questions. It will rest with the Committee to call for such evidence as it requires, but I should deprecate any extension of the inquiry that would lead to undue delay in completing the investigation.