HC Deb 09 February 1893 vol 8 cc870-1
MR. BOUSFIELD (Hackney, N.)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board, in relation to a document headed "Regulations respecting an Open Competitive Examination, to be held in London in February, 1891, for 50 Temporary Clerkships in the Census Office, England," and containing a notice that the Civil Service Commissioners were authorised by the Registrar General to state that— Temporary clerks in the Census Office will be paid at the rate of 6s. a day, rising in some exceptional cases to a maximum of 10s. a day. During the greater part of their engagement, however, they will be employed on piece work, and the rates will be so arranged that a steady and accurate clerk will be able to earn considerably more than his day pay; whether he is aware that many clerks in the Civil Service and elsewhere, attracted by the terms thus offered, gave up good positions to take such temporary clerkships; whether most of the temporary clerks employed were kept nearly the whole time on day work, instead of being employed "daring the greater part of their engagement" at the higher piece work rates, and whether many of them have earned less by £20 to £30 than the minimum they were entitled to expect; whether the cost of the Census was, in fact, considerably less than the sum voted there for; and whether he is prepared to advise the payment to each of such clerks a sum equal to the difference between the amount actually earned and the amount which would have been earned if employed for at least half the term of his engagement at piece work rates?


I am not aware that any clerks in the Civil Service or elsewhere gave up good positions in order to take temporary clerkships in the Census Office. But, on the other hand, of the 50 temporary clerks appointed under the regulations referred to, 31 resigned on obtaining other and permanent appointments in the Civil Service and elsewhere, and only 14 are still employed at the Census Office. Many of the temporary clerks were appointed to fill vacancies caused by the resignation of the original successful candidates, and were not appointed until much of the piece work was finished, so that it was obviously impossible that they could be employed during the greater part of their service at piece work rates. I am assured that every good and accurate clerk has earned during his service considerably more than his initial day pay of 6s., and I cannot admit that any of the temporary clerks have any claim to compensation for supposed loss.

MR. BOULNOIS (Marylebone, E.)

Is it not a fact that a number of these clerks were given to understand that they would be employed on piece work whereby they would have got a considerable addition to their pay; that they were not, so employed, and that they have asked for compensation for what they deemed to be a breach of faith?


The Treasury have fully considered the case, and have decided it is not one for compensation.


Is it not a fact that the promise has not been fulfilled? Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the question contained in the 5th paragraph?


The Census is not yet complete; therefore, it is impossible to say whether the cost is as stated in the question.

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