HC Deb 08 August 1899 vol 76 cc170-1
MR. STEADMAN (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster-General, whether he is aware that the telegraphists of the K Division, Central Telegraph Office, have their dinner-times greatly delayed through insufficiency of staff; and that the privilege of being allowed two hours off on every fourth Saturday is being withhold for the same reason; and whether the Postmaster-General will take steps to concede to telegraphists the same privileges as other civil servants with respect to the Saturday half-holiday.


There has been very great pressure of business in the Central Telegraph Office, and the Postmaster-General regrets to find that there has been in consequence occasional delay in providing for absence at dinner. Every effort is being made to release the staff for dinner at the times fixed. The indulgence of an occasional short duty on Saturday has also been interfered with to some extent from the same cause; but the staff have no claim to any such concession as of right.


I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster-General, whether he can state the number of hours' overtime performed by telegraph clerks in the Central Telegraph Office, London, on Saturday, 22nd July; whether the Controller has applied for additional men; and whether, in view of the serious delay of public work owing to insufficiency of staff, steps will be taken to increase it.


2,541 hours of extra duty were performed in the Central Telegraph office on Saturday, July 22. There was exceptional pressure on that day, caused by the Queen's Prize competition at Bisley and other special events. An addition to the staff has recently been authorised by the Treasury, and the question of a further addition is under consideration. The Postmaster-General is not aware, however, of any serious delay having occurred to the public work.