HC Deb 05 July 1897 vol 50 cc1106-7
MR. S. WOODS (Essex, Walthamstow)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, in view of the fact that in London up to the time of the recent Commission the number of hours per week was fixed for sorters at 48, and that they were entirely exempt from sunday work, in marked contrast with the provincial sorting staff, and also with both the London and provincial telegraph staff, Sunday work being a portion of their duty; whether the Postmaster General in ally changes he intends to follow in the interests of the service will direct that, the vested interests of the London permanent Sunday force are not interfered with; will he explain why the Sunday rates fixed by the Treasury Minute years ago for the London sorting staff have, contrary to all precedent, been considerably reduced even for officers over 20 years on the duty; whether the Postmaster General has received two petitions from the London permanent sorting staff protesting against this, and will the Postmaster General receive a deputation of two or more of the officers concerned before conning to a decision; and, whether he will supply those men who are already chosen in anticipation with the reasons why the authorities little interfered.


It is the fact that the hours of work for sorters were, and are fixed at 48 irrespective of Sunday work. This applies both to Lyndon and the Provinces. No change has been made in this respect by the Report of the Tweedmouth Committee. Sunday work, both in London and the Provinces, is separately paid for, and up to time time of the report of the Tweedmouth Committee was paid for at higher rates in London than the Provinces. In view of the very great advantages conferred on the London sorting staff in the shape of higher rate of pay, and higher rates for some classes of overtime, it is understood that the Tweedmouth Committee considered that it was reasonable and desirable that the exceptionally high allowance paid for Sunday work in London should cease and the Committee made a distinct recommendation that it should be assimilated to the rate paid in the Provinces. If the staff, or any portion of the Stall prefer to recur to their old scale of pay and retain their old allowance, their application shall receive careful consideration from the Postmaster General. But they must distinctly understand that they cannot have the advantages which the Tweedmouth Committee secured for them without surrendering the other privileges which they had before and which the concession of these advantages was intended to cover. The memorials referred to have been received, and if—after this answer the Staff should still desire to see the Postmaster General he will have pleasure in following His usual practice of receiving deputations of officers of the Department who may wish to see him.