HC Deb 18 May 1911 vol 25 cc2128-9

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that of the 15,822 hours extra duty performed by postmen and sorters in the East Central section, General Post Office, for the two weeks ending 8th and 15th April only 3,300 were clue to the additional staff being under training in the school of instruction; if these officers are frequently withdrawn from their tuition on the midday duty to assist in the disposal of correspondence owing to insufficient staff at that time of the day; whether over 13,000 hours overtime had to be incurred for the week ending 6th May through insufficient staff; and, if so, whether, in the circumstances, the additional staff granted by the Treasury in March last is sufficient to meet the requirements of the public service in this section.

Captain NORTON

It is a fact that of the extra duty performed by sorters and postmen in the Eastern Central Section during the two weeks ended April 15 only about 3,300 hours were due to fresh staff being under tuition, and to this extent my reply to the hon. Member's question of the 3rd instant requires correction. Officers are occasionally withdrawn from the school to perform elementary duties, but this arrangement is part of their training, and conduces to efficiency. During the week ended May 6 there was slightly over 13,000 hours of extra duty performed by all ranks in the Eastern Central Section of the London postal service, but this total includes all Sunday work (about 1,000 hours), which is entirely voluntary, and extra duty of an intermittent nature which cannot be converted into regular force without great waste. The hon. Member may rest assured that if it be found practicable to proceed further in the direction of converting overtime into regular force this will be done. It is in the interest alike of efficiency and economy that such conversions should be made in every case in which it will not involve at any time of the year men being paid for whom there is no work.