HC Deb 12 February 1894 vol 21 cc284-5
MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)

I wish to ask the Postmaster General whether his attention has been called to the report in the newspapers of the 6th instant, in which a man in the employ of Messrs. Macnamara, Post Office contractors, was summoned for being asleep while in charge of a horse and cart, and in which the defendant stated that he had been at work 2,j hours with only four hours' rest? If the facts are as stated, will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to secure that Government work shall be done under such conditions as will prevent this system of sweating?


I very much regret to say that, though the whole of the statements, to which my hon. Friend draws my attention, are not accurate, there is no doubt that Livermore was most unduly overworked. Messrs. MacNamara are in the habit of allowing those of their drivers who desire to he relieved from Sunday duty to make arrangements with other men for undertaking their Sunday duty. In accordance with this custom, Livermore—who is what is known as "an odd man" in Messrs. MacNamara's employ—undertook at 11.30 p.m. on the night of Saturday, the 27th ultimo, the work of another driver. At the time at which he was—most improperly—allowed to undertake this duty, Livermore had been working, with very brief intervals of rest, since 2 a.m. on the Saturday morning. Messrs. MacNamara have now issued instructions that none of their drivers, who have been employed during the preceding 12 hours on the Saturday, shall be permitted to relieve another driver for Sunday work. But I am not satisfied that this instruction alone is sufficient, and I am making further inquiries, with a view to securing a more satisfactory condition of things.


While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, I should like to point out that attention was called to this contract on the Estimates.