§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD (Liverpool, West Derby)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether, as a result of negotiations between the Department and the Postal Telegraph Clerks' Association some years ago, a compromise was arranged upon the holiday question; whether, on condition that the stall took a portion of their annual leave, with compensation days for Bank Holidays, in the winter months, the staff were promised that the remainder of their holidays should be granted between the months of March and October (inclusive); whether a guarantee was given to the staff at Liverpool that the bulk of the holidays should be evenly distributed over these eight months; if so, whether this arrangement is to be broken by reducing the number on leave between June and September (inclusive); and whether he will inquire into the circumstances in view of the conditions of the compromise.
§ THE POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. SYDNEY BUXTON, Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
In 1897 the telegraph staff at Liverpool accepted the arrangement, which was subsequently adopted in other places, that the greater portion of the annual leave might be taken in the eight better months of the year, the remaining portion being taken between November and February. There was no promise or arrangement that the annual leave should be distributed equally over the eight months. In consequence of the great pressure of telegraph work from the l5th of June to the 15th of September and the excessive overtime that would otherwise have resulted, an even distribution is not practicable, but as little change as possible has been made.