§ 18. Mr. MIDDLETON
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that the proposed reduction in hours of work in area offices will result in the lowest paid staff making the greatest monetary sacrifice while the higher paid staff will suffer no loss of pay, and that the staff associations agreeing to the reduction in hours do not represent the staffs in area offices; and whether he will postpone the operation of the memorandum issued by his Department, under which the hours of work in these offices will be reduced as from the 24th May to 42 hours a week, until such time as he has received a deputation appointed by a representative meeting of the staffs concerned under the auspices of an association which does represent their views?
The reduction in the working hours of the temporary clerical grades employed in London was introduced at the instance of the staff associations concerned, and the effect of this reduction on pay was clearly understood by all parties. For the sake of uniformity in the Ministry offices in London as well as for the reason that it will result in the continued employment of men who would otherwise be discharged, it has been decided to introduce, as from the 24th instant, the new hours in the area offices situate in the London postal area. I regret that I am unable at this date to suspend my decision, but I shall be happy to receive at any time representations from the associations who were parties to the arrangement.
§ 19. Sir HARRY BRITTAIN
asked the Minister of Pensions what is the number of his staff now employed at the Pensions Issue Office at Acton; and what available accommodation is there in the building for other Ministries?
The staff of my Department employed in the Acton premises at the present time numbers 4,264, of whom 3,400 are attached to Pension Issue Office. There are, in addition, a number of members of the staff of the Ministry of Health. The concentration of certain branches of the Ministry of Pensions into these premises is in progress, and other buildings are being surrendered in consequence. I am informed by my right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works that he does not anticipate that for some time to come there will be space in the building to accommodate further staff from other Departments when the present concentration is completed.
§ Sir H. BRITTAIN
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how big a staff the Ministry of Health have there?