HC Deb 01 April 1897 vol 48 cc280-1

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he will say what proportion of the estimated cost of the changes contemplated in carrying out the recommendations of Lord Tweedmouth's Committee is on behalf of the Telegraph Department of the Post Office in offices where the staffs are not amalgamated, and also the amount involved in improving the position of head postmasters who are receiving less than £500 per annum?


The estimated average annual cost of giving effect to the recommendations of Lord Tweed-mouth's Committee is (1) on Telegraph Account as regards officers where the staff is not amalgamated, £26,480; (2) for improving the position of Head Postmasters receiving less than £500 a year, £3,929.


I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General (1) on what principle of classification the city of Cork postmen are placed only in the fourth scale under the new classification; (2) whether the second class sorting clerks in Dublin, Belfast, Limerick, and Cork are in receipt of a uniform scale of pay, and why a different practice is to prevail as regards postmen; (3) whether within the last 15 years the maximum pay of second class sorting clerks has increased from 24s. to 40s., and now, by the removal of the barrier between first and second class, to 52s., i.e., by 28s. per week, whereas, in the same period, the maximum salary of postmen in Cork has only increased by 4s., i.e., from 20s. to 24s., and is not at all increased by the recommendations of the Tweedmouth Committee; and(4) whether the position of the Cork postmen under the new arrangements will be reconsidered?


The classification of postmen under the new system, as under the old, is based upon the size of the town in which the men work, the cost of living and the value of outdoor labour in the locality, and the postmen at Cork fall into the fourth class under this system. Thus Cork comes within the same category as Limerick and other towns of like character. The pay of sorting clerks is regulated by the amount and character of the work performed, which varies greatly according to the size and importance of the, place. The pay of second class sorting clerks at all offices where the staff was divided into classes rose under the old system to 40s. a week. The pay of the first class, however, which at Dublin and Belfast rose to 56s. and 54s. respectively—is at Cork and Limerick only 52s. and 50s. a week. As regards the third paragraph of the hon. Member's Question, the facts are, substantially, as stated as regards the maximum of the scales, but it must be remembered that the postmen will receive the benefit of an increased number of good conduct stripes, each carrying extra pay of 1s. a week, as well as an improved increment of 1s. 6d. instead of 1s. a week. It is not proposed to reconsider the case of the Cork postmen.