HC Deb 30 March 1894 vol 22 cc1005-6

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether telegraph clerks are employed on special wires in London from 6 p.m. until 6. a.m., whereas two clerks are employed in the country districts to perform special wire duties; whether clerks in the Central Telegraph Office, after having performed a week's duty of six days of 10 hours' duration, are called upon to work 12 hours' additional duty on the Sunday; and whether, having regard to the exhaustive character of the work, he will follow the example set by the Government with reference to employés, and grant an eight hours day for telegraph clerks?


(1.) It is the fact telegraphists are employed on special wires in the offices of provincial newspapers in London from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., whereas at provincial offices the duties are divided. Formerly the same arrangement obtained in the provinces as in London, and it is only from a desire to meet, as far as possible, the wishes of the Press and the convenience of the staff that the duty is not yet divided in London. (2.) In order to avoid calling upon the telegraphists to give two attendances in the day, the duties are so distributed as to give a working day of 10 hours and a working day of six hours, instead of two working days of eight hours each; and for the convenience of the staff themselves these long and short attendances are taken on alternate weeks. I find that in two or three cases telegraphists, after working a long attendance during the week, have given a further attendance on Sunday of 12 hours. And I have given instructions that this shall not be permitted in future.