§ MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)
To ask the Postmaster-General whether the rule in the postal telegraph, and telephone departments that no operator can leave the instruments of which he has charge without being substituted by a colleague, is still in force; whether he is aware that an order has been issued at Bristol that no male or female operator can be permitted relief from circuit duties for any purpose in excess of five minutes per day, otherwise the time has to be made good and the matter is recorded against the officer; whether the Postmaster-General will state if such a system is in existence in any other section of the Civil Service; and whether he will state if the rule was issued with his sanction.
(Answered by Lord Stanley.) There is no rule prescribing what steps should be taken to provide for the duty of a telegraphist during short occasional absences, any necessary arrangements being made at the discretion of the controlling officers. It was necessary to exercise some check on occasional absences at Bristol, where† See (4) Debates, cxlv., 1109.935 there had been some laxity; but regulations recently issued with this object were perhaps somewhat stringent, and they are being modified.