11. Lieut.-Colonel Sir ARNOLD WILSON
asked the Postmaster-General whether it is an invariable rule of his Department not to incur expense in order to afford postmen a weekly half-holiday; whether postmasters are empowered to request parish councils to consent to the curtailment of postal services in order to provide such a holiday; and whether, if such be the rule, he will consider the possibility of bringing the practice of the Post Office into line with that of other good employers of labour?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir Kingsley Wood)
Postmen are liable to give a gross attendance of 48 hours weekly, and in these circumstances a weekly half-holiday and a consequent reduction of their hours of duty below that level at the expense of the taxpayer could not be financially justified. Services are, however, suspended in certain cases on one afternoon in the week with the prior concurrence of the local authorities, but postmen are of course paid as for a full week. In London and certain other places a number of men are relieved from any attendance on one day of the week, but they give an extended attendance on the other five days. It has not been found possible to make this arrangement in rural districts owing to the impracticability of finding useful employment for the men for more than eight hours daily.
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
Does that mean that the Post Office is one of the few employers who do not give a weekly half-holiday?
§ Sir K. WOOD
Only in the circumstances that I have mentioned. Post- 2453 men are employed on a 48-hour week and, of course, any further reduction would mean additional expenditure on the part of the taxpayer.