§ Mr. COOPER
asked whether, during the absence of the supervising staff at Walsall on annual leave, their duties are to be made up by the employment of a postman on the duties of the sorting clerks and telegraphists and replacing of the former by temporary labour; whether there is any undue pressure existing, or likely to exist, that would prevent the duties being made up by the staff of sorting clerks and 1749 telegraphists; and whether it is usual during the absence of a postmaster and his officials that their duties should be made up by the employment of temporary labour?
§ Captain NORTON
At offices not sufficiently large to possess established leave substitutes borne on Supervising classes, of which Walsall is one, it is the practice to provide, as far as possible, for the leave of supervising officers by the employment of established leave substitutes borne on the class of sorting clerks and telegraphists. If this provision is insufficient it is necessary to have recourse either to extra duty or to temporary force, or to both; and the circumstances of each case must determine the action to be taken. At Walsall there has recently been an amount of extra duty performed large enough to make it undesirable to increase it by refraining from adopting the process of devolution, which I endeavoured to explain in my reply to the question asked me by the hon. Member on 11th May last. Excessive extra duty is not in the best interests of the staff, and in attempting to avoid it at Walsall the local officials have acted in accordance with the expressed distaste of the staff for this form of labour.