60. Mr. TYSON WILSON
asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware of the number of young persons employed at sub-post offices as counter and telegraph clerks, some of them with upwards of six years' experience, who are working 63, 66, and 72 hours per week for a wage of 12s. 6d. per week; and whether he will apply the provisions of the Fair-Wages Clause to the staff employed by scale-pay sub-postmasters?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Hobhouse)
I am not aware of the number of young persons working at sub-post offices, if any, who are employed under the conditions alleged by the hon. Member. They are not, of course, servants of the Post Office. I am informed that, generally speaking, the maximum number of hours worked by assistants exclusively employed on Post Office work at the larger scale-payment sub-offices in London is fifty-four weekly, including meal reliefs, and I think it should be so in the provinces also. At small offices, where the work is very light, the hours may be altogether different. I have recently issued instructions with a view to securing, as far as possible, that the conditions of service of assistants employed by scale-payment sub-postmasters other than their own relatives should not be less favourable than those 450 of shop assistants of about the same standing in the service of good employers in the same district.
§ Mr. R. HARCOURT
Has not the right hon. Gentleman control of the ordinary kind over the wages paid to sub-post office assistants?
Mr. TYSON WILSON
But cannot the Postmaster-General make representations to the sub-postmasters to the effect they must pay their assistants more?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I have answered that question by anticipation, as the hon. Member will see if he refers to the latter part of my answer.
§ Mr. R. HARCOURT
Is it the case the right hon. Gentleman can issue a circular, but cannot enforce it?