§ MR. NANNETTI (Dublin, College Green)
To ask the Postmaster-General if he will state the number of learners in Ireland, Scotland, and England, respectively, who were admitted into the Post Office service by competitive examination like other Civil servants, and who are now qualified in both sorting and telegraphy, but who, notwithstanding that they work eight hours per day, have never received pay in any way; how many learners in the three countries, respectively, who are fully qualified in general post office work are still kept as learners at the rate of 5s. or Gs. per week; and will he see in future that young people will not be admitted into the public service in excess of the ordinary requirements, and thereby prevent their being kept for years practically without pay in the employment of the State.
(Answered by Lord Stanley.) I am not aware that there are any learners, whether admitted by competition or otherwise, who are fully qualified and are working eight hours a day without pay, and I shall be glad if the hon. Member will let me know the names of any offices where such a state of things exists. Most qualified learners are now obtaining employment as substitutes with wages considerably above 5s. or 6s. a week, and I do not think the expense of ascertaining what small number have not yet obtained such employment would be justified. All learners who have served as such for two years will in future receive a considerable increase of pay. I have already taken steps to restrict the admission of learners.