HC Deb 16 August 1911 vol 29 cc1904-5

asked the Postmaster-General whether the surveyor of the Eastern District has instituted a plan for employing women in post offices for a few hours daily in the winter months and eight hours per day during the summer; whether the average earnings of these women are insufficient to keep them in food, lodging, and clothing; whether they are employed in seaside towns where the cost of living is very high; and whether he will state if he is satisfied that the work performed is of a quality sufficiently high for the necessities of the postal and telegraph departments?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)

It is not infrequently necessary to employ special season assistance at the post offices of towns where summer pressure obtains and the required assistance is provided in many ways, one of which is the extension of the duty of part time assistants. In all cases the wages, which are considered to be adequate, are fixed in accordance with the regulations, and no surveyor possesses any plenary authority with regard to the conditions of employment. I have no reason to think that the arrangements, adopted in the Post Office service to meet the incidence of season pressure are unsatisfactory from the point of view of efficiency.


asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the decision to increase established staff at salaried sub-offices, he will state how many married women, the wives of established officers in receipt of fixed wages and with the prospect of pension, are being employed as full time assistants; and whether he will take steps to ensure that such employment will not prevent the creation of established positions in the offices concerned?


I am obtaining the information asked for in. the first part of the question, and will communicate it to the hon. Member as soon as possible. The cases are few. Married women would not be appointed as full-time assistants at salaried sub-offices under the existing regulations; but where they may have been acting in that capacity for some time, hardship might be occasioned by compelling them to give up their work. At the same time, they are not eligible for appointment to the establishment. To this extent their employment might tend to prevent the immediate creation of established positions in the offices concerned. I will, however, give the matter my careful consideration.