HC Deb 12 March 1896 vol 38 c766
MR. HARRY SAMUEL (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, if he is aware that the extra officers of Her Majesty's Customs are in receipt of 21s. and 19s. only per week, and are liable to work 72 hours and 60 hours respectively, without any possibility of a rise in wages or pension on retirement; and, if so, whether he will advise Her Majesty's Government to grant these men a uniform wage of 24s. per week for 48 hours' work, and the same advantages both as regards sick pay and retiring pension as are now accorded to other servants doing similar work in Her Majesty's Customs?


Under the present system, some of the London extra men are ordinary casual labourers, paid 3s. 2d. a day when employed, but with no claim to continuous employment or retiring allowance. The others, who are classed as permanent labourers, are liable to employment from 8 to 4 in summer, and from 9 to 4 in winter. or longer if the public service requires. If their usual daily attendance exceeds the hours mentioned, they are paid 21s. a week; if not, 19s. They get a week's notice before their employment can be discontinued, and after sufficient length of service may receive retiring gratuities under certain conditions. The work is generally of a light character, not involving hard physical exertion. The whole subject is now under consideration in connection with the proposed establishment of a class of persons to be known as "Customs Watchers," consequent on the abolition of the grade of outdoor officers. The watchers are designed to take the inferior kinds of duty which now fall to outdoor officers, and which include, generally, duties on which extra men are employed.