HC Deb 17 July 1919 vol 118 cc606-7
86. Mr. J. DAVISON

asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been drawn to the dissatisfaction which exists in the large telegraph offices due to the excessive overtime which the men have been, and are being, compelled to work, especially at Birmingham and Manchester; whether at Manchester 2,000 hours of overtime were worked by the men during the past week; whether he will state the total cost of such extra duty; and whether, in view of the serious financial state of the country, he will endeavour to avoid this expenditure and relieve his staff of these conditions by endeavouring to secure the return of the men who are being retained with the forces?


The public telegraph traffic has shown a very large increase in the last few months, and I am aware that a considerable amount of overtime is still necessary. No current figures are available, but I am making a general inquiry as regards the amount of overtime worked by indoor staffs throughout the country, and considering what steps can be taken to reduce it. About 6,000 telegraphists have been released from the forces, and every effort is being made to secure the return of all men who are not required for the Armies of Occupation.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think that overtime is necessary, in view of the fact that some of the men who were previously employed by the Post Office, and have served their country and returned, now cannot find employment?


So far as the Government Department is concerned, the greatest endeavour is made to obtain all the skilled men that can be obtained. There is a great scarcity. So far as overtime is concerned, I can only say that my right hon. Friend and myself are very anxious indeed to reduce overtime as far as possible.