HC Deb 22 July 1897 vol 51 cc716-8

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether the Government mean to give effect to the recommendation of the Tweedmouth Committee that the salaries of head postmasters should be increased; and if so when the Government proposes to inaugurate the change?


The hon. Member is inaccurate in supposing that there is any general recommendation of the Tweedmouth Committee that head postmasters' salaries should be increased. The Committee recommended that, in cases where the work of a postmaster was stationary, and he has derived consequently no advantage from the improvement of salary normally accorded for increase of business, some consideration should be shown for length of service, and that for each ten years of completed service a postmaster in receipt of less than £500 a year should receive a 10 per cent. increase of salary. Effect is being given to this recommendation.

*MR. T. R. LEUTY (Leeds, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether, in view of the fact that Arthur Whitaker was in 1894 irregularly informed by an officer then in the service that he would probably receive an appointment as postman, and was by that promise induced to give up an engagement, the Department can extend to him some consideration for the financial loss he has sustained since 1894 by giving him an appointment on the staff at an early date?


An endeavour will be made to find an established place for Arthur Whitaker, but in view of the claims of other men, the Postmaster General is unable to make a definite promise on the subject. I explained on the 15th inst. that A. Whitaker, after employment on Sundays for about a year, became an auxiliary postman at Leeds in 1894, and that he appears to have been irregularly informed by an officer, no longer in the service, without the knowledge or sanction of the Postmaster of Leeds, that he would probably receive an appointment as postman; but no actual promise was made to him.


asked whether he correctly understood that the Department would endeavour, if no harm would otherwise result, to carry out that promise?


Oh, yes; certainly.


I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, on what date the petition of the sorting staff of the Cork Post Office with regard to their hours of duty was received by the District Surveyor, and when it was forwarded by the Surveyor to headquarters, what the cause of the delay in so forwarding it was, and whether it is usual for surveyors to delay forwarding petitions of this kind; in what portion of the building the particular room in the Cork Post Office alleged to be available to the sorting staff as a retiring room during the interval from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. is situate, and whether the room is used for any other purpose; and whether he can state in detail the nature of the experimental re-arrangement of duties said to have been recently adopted with a view to bridging over the midnight interval, when it came into force, and how many sorting clerks it has, so far, relieved from the interval in question?


The petition referred to was addressed to the Postmaster of Cork, and not to the Postmaster General. It reached the District Surveyor on the 5th March, and has been held over by him until the effect of the recent change in the hours of duty arising out of the acceleration of the mails can be seen. A memorial of this character, only addressed to the local postmaster, is not necessarily addressed to headquarters. But the present memorial will be so forwarded when the Surveyor is in a position to report on the change mentioned. The delay is believed to have created no inconvenience, and the staff were aware of the cause. The retiring room mentioned is on the second floor of the office and is used by the telegraph staff. The Postmaster General cannot state in detail the nature of the experimental re-arrangement of the duties of the sorting staff—i.e., the combining of the duties of sorting clerks and telegraphists. It has been begun, and, so far, two officers have been afforded relief from tire midnight interval.