HC Deb 15 July 1935 vol 304 cc740-1

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the many cases of injustice imposed upon men having many years of auxiliary service to their credit, he will consider taking steps to remove the statutory limitation against placing other than ex-service men in permanent employment?


No, Sir. I do not think that in present circumstances ex-service men should be deprived of a preference which they have enjoyed since 1897. Under this long standing arrangement, half the vacancies for postmen are assigned to ex-service men, and half to persons already in the Post Office service. The majority of the latter vacancies are required to provide outlets for boy messengers, but it is found possible to assign some of them to auxiliary postmen with long service. It is also the practice when an auxiliary duty is enlarged into a full-time post to appoint the existing holder to the new post, provided he has a reasonable amount of service in the Post Office to his credit. In these ways provision is made for the advancement of a certain number of auxiliary postmen to full-time posts.


Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there are a large number of cases in the country where auxiliary postmen have had a long period of service and that when positions are made permanent ex-service men are brought in to fill the posts, not from the immediate area but from long distances away?


I am not prepared to put geographical bounds to recognition of the services which the ex-service men gave to this country.


Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman give a guarantee that he will always give preference to ex-service men for the Post Office?


I am not quite sure whether I understand my hon. and gallant Friend's question aright. I cannot give a guarantee that all these posts shall be given exclusively to ex-service men.


Is it not the case that in all European countries these posts are reserved for the benefit of the men who have served with the forces?


Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consider giving the same terms to men who have served during the War as to post-war serving soldiers?


The position is that we give half these vacancies to ex-service men; but I realise the point put by the hon. Member for East Rhondda (Mr. Mainwaring) and 662 auxiliary postmen not ex-service men were also given permanent posts last year?