§ 86. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that Clause 103 of the Staff Rules and Regulations of telephone workers in Leeds and district states that non-established workmen may receive twelve days' holiday after a qualifying period of two years; if he is aware that the workmen in question only receive one day's holiday for each month of service after the qualifying period, and that the effect is that a workman has to serve for three years before he gets twelve days' holiday; and if he will see his way to order that workmen become entitled to twelve days' holiday immediately on completion of the two years qualifying period of service?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Hobhouse)
The rule in question states that unestablished workmen commence to earn annual leave on the completion of two years' service. For the period between this date and the end of the calendar year, they are given a proportionate amount of the full annual leave of twelve days. This is in accordance with the usual practice of the Post Office in the case of persons becoming entitled for the first time to annual leave.
§ 87. Mr. FELL
asked the Postmaster-General the reason why certain telephone operators cut off subscribers almost immediately after they are put in communication with another subscriber; if there is any time limit imposed on conversations; if warning can be given before cutting off subscribers; and if the Regulations or instructions to the operators, on the subject can be laid upon the Table?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
There is no good reason why subscribers should be interrupted in the manner suggested; and if the hon. Member will give me particulars of any actual cases I will have inquiry made. In the case of trunk calls the unit period of conversation is three minutes; and at the end of that period subscribers are asked whether they desire to have another three minutes, for which a second fee becomes due. The statutory Telephone Instructions, dated 10th October, 1910, prescribe that no person shall be entitled to use a trunk line or an exchange system continuously for a time exceeding six minutes. Telephonists are instructed to give subscribers warning before terminating conversations at the end of the prescribed period.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
As the hon. Gentleman makes that allegation, I am entitled to ask him for his source of information.
§ 90. Mr. PIRIE
asked the Postmaster-General if the telephone directories in use in the various areas in Scotland are at the present moment as bad as the one in use in the Aberdeen area, the names being in small print, and the book being full, from the front page to the back, of advertisements, and, as a fresh directory has been issued for London, how long this present state of affairs is to continue in Scotland; if he is aware that subscribers 1501 who have two telephones, for which the combined payment of a flat service is £10 10s., have only received one copy of the telephone directory of the July issue, and on request for a second copy were informed that they would have to pay an extra 1s.; and whether it is in keeping with the traditions of a public Department to treat its subscribers in such a fashion?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
The printing and arrangement of matter in the Telephone Directory are the same for Scotland as for the rest of the United Kingdom, with the exception of some slight differences in the London section. The new half-yearly issue is not confined to London, but is being made throughout the United Kingdom. The existing contracts for printing and advertisements in all the telephone directories will expire in January next, and the question of improving the type and the general arrangement of entries and advertisements is being carefully considered. A subscriber is entitled without payment to a copy of the directory for each exchange line rented by him, and I shall be happy to have inquiry made if the hon. Member will furnish me with particulars of any case in which this rule appears to have been disregarded.