§ MR. LEWIS FRY (Bristol, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether it is the fact that 40 messengers attached to the Telegraph Department of the Bristol Post Office will shortly be discharged on account of their having attained 16 years of age, and without having any other employment offered to them in the Postal Service; and whether, in view of the hardship which will be thus inflicted upon a number of young men who have satisfactorily fulfilled their duties as public servants, he will consider the propriety of withdrawing the notice of dismissal given to the messengers in question, or of modifying the Regulation under which they are to be discharged?
§ *THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R. W. HANBURY,) Preston
It is the fact that a number of telegraph messengers at Bristol who have attained the age of 16 are under notice to leave; but the number—excluding four who are being discharged for unsatisfactory conduct—is 25, and not 40, as stated by the hon. Member. The Regulation on the point has been laid down mainly in the interests of the lads themselves. If they remained on as telegraph messengers until the age of 18, the Department would be no more able to give them appointments then than it is now, and it will be obvious that, at the age of 16, lads are better able to learn a trade or prepare themselves for other employment than they are at the age of 18.