§ 39. Mr. HARRIS
asked the Postmaster-General how many temporary postal sorters engaged during the War have been displaced; how many of such were physically unfit for war service; whether those who were employed for long periods and who proved efficient at their work, and yet dispensed with, will be given an opportunity to fill vacancies; and whether he is aware that the bulk of these men are now unemployed?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Neville Chamberlain)
About 3,000 temporary male sorters engaged during the War have been displaced. It is probable that the bulk of these men were over age or not physically fit for war service. As far as possible those who had served with the Forces and were eligible have been offered appointments as postman or porter; moreover, a special competition was held in September, 1921, among the temporary sorters, including the non-service men, and the first 200 candidates were offered appointment as sorters. In view of the claims of boy messengers, postmen and other grades in the Post Office, I regret that I am unable to offer any more permanent posts to the temporary sorters.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Does the right hon. Gentleman think it a good example to private employers to throw so many hundreds of men on the labour market at a time like the present?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
May I point out to my hon. Friend that this does not increase the total bulk of unemployment? It is really a question of which men shall be taken into the Post Office. If I retained temporary sorters, I would throw others out of employment.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of these men were employed for seven years, that they have learned this particular job and now are not fit for other occupation?