HC Deb 30 June 1893 vol 14 cc545-6
MR. KEIR HARDIE (West Ham, S.)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General if he can state the number of contracts in existence, and by whom they are held, for the carrying of Her Majesty's mails in London, and when they expire; whether such contracts include a schedule of hours and wages for the mail cart drivers; and whether he will cause such schedules to be inserted in all future contracts, specifying that 6d. per hour shall be the minimum wage and that the working day shall consist of eight hours?


The contracts for the carrying of Her Majesty's Mails in London are four in number, namely:—

For Town District Van and Cart Service. Held by Messrs. McNamara & Company. Castle Street, Finsbury Street, E.C.
For Town Parcel Post Van. Held by Mr. J. Allen, Seward Street, E.C.
For Suburban Van and Cart Services, Eastern Northern, and South Eastern Districts. Held by Mr. C. Webster, Campbell Road, Bow.
For Suburban Van and Cart Services, remaining districts. Held by Mr. J. Birch, Cathcart Street, Kentish Town.
The fixed term for which these contracts were entered into has expired, and any of the contracts can now be terminated by either side giving 12 calendar months' notice. No such notice has been given in respect to any of the contracts. The contracts do not include a schedule of hours and wages for the mail cart drivers. It should be understood that the work of the mail drivers is not continuous, there being many intervals between the runs, and this would render it very difficult, if not impossible, to arrange a working day of a certain number of hours for each man. I have consented to receive a deputation from the London Carmen's Union, who desire to lay a statement of facts and figures before me; and, under these circumstances, I should propose not to answer the latter part of the question.


I beg also to ask the Postmaster General whether his attention has been called to the dismissal of six mail cart drivers employed by Messrs. McNamara and Co., Limited, who hold a Government contract for the car- rying of the mails, the dismissal being for having attended a meeting of postmen; and what action he proposes taking in the matter?


I am assured by Messrs. McNamara's manager that they have no knowledge whatever as to which of their drivers did, and which did not, attend recent meetings of mail cart drivers (or meetings of postmen), and that certainly no man has been dismissed for such a reason.


Will the right hon. Gentleman receive a deputation from the men dismissed, so that they may state their case and prove the cause of dismissal?


I have no objection at all to receive a small deputation, but the men had better first submit their statement in writing.

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