§ Mr. TOUCHE
asked the Postmaster-General if he was aware that, owing to various revisions, nearly 30 per cent. of the present staff of third class clerks are now receiving less than they would be receiving if they had not successfully undergone the competitive examination for that grade; that they are refused permission to revert to their former division; and that the number of appointments open to third 1329 class clerks have been reduced by over 9 per cent.; will he explain why the new scale of remuneration for third class clerks, which restores the former minimum of £100 and gives increases of £7 10s. for four years and £10 annually thereafter, has been applied so that an officer with four years' service in the third class, who joined during the temporary minimum of £80 per annum, receives only £110 per annum, whereas the new scale provides that, when an officer has had four years' service in the class, he should receive £130; and will he consider the application of the new scale in such a way as to give all officers the position which they would have received if they had entered at the minimum salary which formerly existed and has now been restored, or otherwise give to each clerk such salary as he would have attained had the new scale been applicable to him when he commenced service in accordance with the principle recognised in the case of the second division clerks, or will he appoint a committee to investigate the claims of third class clerks?
§ The POSTMASTER - GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
I am aware that certain third class clerks employed in the different departments of the Post Office in London are in receipt for the time being of slightly lower salaries than they would be receiving if they had not obtained appointment to their present class, and if, remaining second division clerks, they had accepted the new scale of pay for second division clerks. They have, however, better prospects for the future than the members of that class. All officers who accept transfer to other classes, whether by competitive examination or by other means, are aware that in doing so they accept all the advantages and disadvantages of their new position. The part of the hon. Member's question dealing with the new scale of remuneration suggests that this scale should be made retrospective in the case of certain clerks. This would not be in accordance with the usual practice in the Civil Service, and I do not see my way to adopt the suggestion. In the case of the second-division clerks to which the hon. Member refers, the officers concerned were given the opportunity of exchanging a maximum of £350, with a slow rate of progress, for a maximum of £300 with a quicker rate of progress; and I cannot admit that the circumstances as regards the third class clerks, who have not had their maximum reduced, are such as to warrant analogous treatment. I have received a deputation 1330 from the staff on the subject, and the whole matter has received my most careful consideration. I do not deem it necessary or advisable to appoint a committee of investigation.