§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER () Belfast, W.
I beg to ask the Postmaster General why no decision has yet been communicated to the members of the sorting staff of the Belfast Post Office, who forwarded a Memorial some 15 months ago praying that they might be accorded their seniority upon the staff of the office from the date of their entry as auxiliaries, and not from the date of their Civil Service certificates, which at present determines the order of seniority; whether the present disabilities of these members of the staff arise from causes over which they had no control, and is he aware that loss of seniority in this case entails pecuniary loss to the officers concerned; and whether the decision recently given in the case of a member of the staff of the Dublin Sorting Office is applicable in the case of Belfast?
THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. A. MORLBY,) Nottingham, E.
The hon. Member has apparently been misinformed. The Memorial in question, 761 far from having been left undecided for 15 months, was answered within six weeks of its receipt. The prayer of the Memorial was that the order in which the Memorialists had stood on their class for the last six years might be altered, and this, they were informed, could not be done. An appeal which they subsequently made adduced cases which were not in point. It is true that since that answer was given a different practice has been introduced, and now rotation on a class is not exclusively determined by the dates of the Civil Service certificates; but to make such practice retrospective in its operation is absolutely out of the question—introducing, as it would, an element of disturbance into almost every office in the Kingdom.
§ MR. A. FORSTER
Would it not be possible to remedy the grievance in cases in which the default in issuing the certificates was in no way due to remissness on the part of the person appointed, the grievance in such cases being attributable to the action of the Post Office?
§ MR. A. MORLEY
I do not think it would be possible without doing an injustice to other members of the staff.