HC Deb 13 April 1893 vol 11 cc197-8

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether the contract with Messrs. Macnamara for Royal mail service is about to expire: and, if so, will he, before renewing such contract, make an inquiry into the conditions under which the drivers of the Royal mail carts work; whether it is true that the men are working 14, 16, and even more hours per day; whether the pay of the service men is 21s. per week, less stoppages; and whether the odd men, besides Is. per day allowed for waiting, are paid at the rate of 4d. per hour?

SIR J. KENNAWAY (Devon, Honiton)

May I ask is it a fact that the drivers of the mail carts work seven days a week, and is no opportunity given to them—such as rural postmen have—to rest on Sundays?


I cannot answer that question without notice. In reply to the question on the Paper, I have to say that the contract is a general contract, terminated with six months' notice on either side. I understand that the day's work of the permanent drivers extends on an average over 12¾ hours, of which, however, between four and five hours only are occupied on actual duty daily. The pay is 21s. a week for single-horse drivers and 22s. for pair horse drivers for the first six months, and afterwards 22s. to 23s. and 24s. to 25s. respectively. Special payment is made for Sunday work and overtime, and certain bonuses are given. The odd men employed receive average earnings of between. 4s. and 4s. 6d. a day.


Is it a fact that the men begin day duty at 3 a.m., and do not finish until 7 or 8 p.m.? Is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that one man has been discharged to-day by Mr. Wilmot, Messrs. Macnamara's manager, on account of the question appearing on the Paper, for which he is no more responsible than others, and that he has been told that he might go to the House of Commons and see what the Commons would do for him?


I have no information on the subject, but if the allegations are sent to me I will make inquiry into them.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he has considered whether a profit would not accrue to the public and advantage to the employés if the horses and the vehicles were directly owned by, and the employés directly engaged by, the Department?


I will consider that proposal.