HC Deb 05 April 1898 vol 56 cc195-6
MR. J. H. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that at the Birmingham head telegraph office two women, with seven and 10 years' service respectively, have been appointed to supervise a mixed staff, which frequently includes men with two to three times as much service; whether these said women are performing duties which until recently were performed by men with over 20 years' service, possessed of the technical qualifications necessary; whether the said women possess the technical qualifications necessary to the due discharge of the duties placed upon them; whether the Post Office is now paying in this connection less than 40 shillings a week for work previously remunerated at the rate of £150 to £185 per annum; and whether the Postmaster General will give orders that no men telegraphists are in future to be placed under the control of a woman supervisor with less service than those under her supervision?


At the Birmingham head telegraph office, two women, with seven and 10 years' service respectively, do supervise a mixed staff, which includes men of the rank and file of longer service than their own, but only for three hours—namely, between 9 and 10 a.m., 2 and 3 p.m., and 7 and 8 p.m. The women under their charge would number from 60 to 70. The assistant supervisors are themselves under the control of a male assistant superintendent. The two women referred to do not perform duties which used to be performed by men possessing technical qualifications. The women do not possess such qualifications, nor are they necessary for the work which they perform. The Department is not paying less remuneration for the work which they discharge than it formerly paid. While recognising the propriety of placing men as a general rule under male supervision, the Postmaster General cannot undertake to promise that in no case shall men be required to work on instruments ordinarily under the control of women of shorter service.