§ Mr. TOUCHE
asked how many men would be affected by the recommendation contained in paragraph 107 of the Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Post Office Servants, issued in July, 1907, that officers of the non-clerical staff in London, who have performed the duties of post office writers for not less than two years, should be transferred to the clerical establishment; whether the writers, or their representatives, have presented any memorials pointing out that the refusal to 439 carry out the recommendation of the Committee in this particular instance constitutes a legitimate grievance; what reason has been assigned for such refusal; if substantially all other findings of the Committee, about the interpretation of which there is no dispute, have been put into force, whether favourable or unfavourable, to the post office staff; and does he expect soon to see his way to so deal with the case of the writers also, so as to satisfy them that they have not been specially excluded from benefits recommended by the Parliamentary Committee?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The number of men in the London postal service who would be affected by the recommendation in question is approximately 220. I have had before me a number of memorials and received a deputation from the officers interested. My predecessor decided not to adopt the Committee's recommendation, partly because of representations made to him by the association which represents the general body of the class mainly concerned, and partly because the writing duties, if taken from the general body and worked separately, would not be sufficiently responsible to warrant the creation of any but minor clerical appointments. If such appointments were created the pay they would carry in a large proportion of cases would be less than that now given for ordinary sorting duty, and the prospects of promotion would be worsened. In many cases the work could not easily or properly be separated from the current operative work, and duties which consist of writing only with their regular hours form a welcome addition to the general duties of sorters. My predecessor made it clear on more than one occasion that while he undertook to carry out the recommendations of the Select Committee in matters of alterations of scales, etc., he reserved to himself the right to review their recommendations where they dealt simply with organisation. I regret that I cannot see my way to modify the decision already communicated to the officers concerned.