HC Deb 16 June 1890 vol 345 cc1037-8

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether he will state the maximum number of hours' duty and overtime performed by a telegraph clerk in the Central Telegraph Office for the seven days ending 8th instant; whether clerks on duty for five days from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. are brought on overtime on the sixth day and also on Sundays; whether clerks, after performing duty from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., are placed on overtime from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and in some cases to even a later hour; whether these clerks are again on duty at 8 p.m. thus performing 15 hours out of the 24 hours; whether there is less work performed in June than in July or August; and whether he will consider the desirability of taking, with out delay, as many probationers from the Telegraph School as will give substantial relief to the overworked clerks?


In reply to the first question of the hon. Member, I have to state that the maximum number of hours of duty and overtime combined performed by a telegraphist in the Central Telegraph Office during the seven days ended the 8th instant was 81¾ A part of this was, I understand, performed under a private arrangement as substitute for two other telegraphists. The answer to the next three questions is in the affirmative. But, except as regards the Sunday duty—which comes round once in four or five weeks—the performance of the over time is quite voluntary. Practically, there is not much difference between the amount of work performed in June as compared with the other two months mentioned by the hon. Member. A statement of the comparative number of telegrams in each month will be found in the Appendix to the Reports of the Postmaster General, which are laid before Parliament. I do not myself think it desirable that a telegraphist who has been on duty for 11 hours should resume work at so short an interval as four hours. This was one of the points very fairly urged by the deputation of telegraphists whom I received a short time ago, and I shall be very glad if I can take measures to mitigate what I certainly regard as a hardship.