HC Deb 19 March 1929 vol 226 cc1597-8
37. Dr. SHIELS

asked the Postmaster-General what is the nature of the work given out to private contract in the Edinburgh district; why this work cannot be done by the Post Office engineering staff; and, in view of the number of men, many of them ex-service men, who have been dismissed from the engineering department during the last 12 months, will he consider finding as full work as possible for the men in this department?


Contract work in progress in the Edinburgh district consists of exchange equipment, power plant and duct laying. The contract covers manufacture and installation of equipment and plant. As regards duct laying, the labour is mainly excavation and reinstatement and is in my opinion more appropriate to contractors who regularly carry out work of this character. No Post Office staff is discharged if suitable employment is available.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it would be more in keeping with the Prime Minister's letter if the Department took every effort to conserve and expand the occupation of those who are employed in this particular Department, and is he aware that a great many men have been discharged, and that work is being done by contractors which should have been done by them, and does he not agree that that is a hardship?


Every effort is made, and I can only say that the Department endeavour to avoid the discharge of Post Office labour, but the actual work of duct-laying is not work upon which the Post Office engineering department have been or would be normally employed.