HC Deb 20 March 1962 vol 656 cc199-200
25 and 26. Mrs. Braddock

asked the Postmaster-General (1) on what date he approved the transfer of a contract given by his department to the Automatic Telephone and Electric Comany, Liverpool, to Plessey's, Ilford, Essex, resulting in redundancy of almost 180 workers;

(2) what representations he has received on the subject of redundancy amongst telephone workers in the Liverpool area; and what replies he has sent.

Mr. Bevins

The redundancy mentioned by the hon. Member has not been caused by a transfer of work from the Automatic Telephone and Electric Company to the Plessey Company. My Department gave approval to the A.T.E. on 1st March for the sub-letting of a contract to Plesseys, but the work covered by that contract would not in any event have been carried out at Liverpool. I understand that the present redundancy at Liverpool is the result of action initiated by A.T.E. and accelerated since the merger with Plesseys. This action is designed to reduce overhead costs and to secure greater efficiency. I have been approached on this matter by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) and by three of my constituents, and I am replying to them in the sense of this Answer.

Mrs. Braddock

Is not the Postmaster-General aware that those who have been dismissed are of the opinion that the contract given to the Automatic Telephone and Electric Company was a contract that would keep them employed for quite a while? In view of the possibility of further redundancy because of the merger that has taken place, what action does the right hon. Gentleman intend to take about further contracts with the Automatic Telephone and Electric Company?

Mr. Bevins

The position is that it is simply not true that the sub-letting agreed to by the Post Office has resulted in any redundancy whatever at the works in Liverpool. The redundancy is due to the desire of the firm to cut out excessive overheads. I have my eye on the possibility of future redundancies in an area such as Liverpool or Merseyside, and I give my assurance that I shall do all in my power to prevent work from leaving Liverpool.

Mr. Tilney

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether adequate compensation is being paid to the staff?

Mr. Bevins

Yes, indeed. I have made the most careful inquiries with regard to compensation, and I shall be very happy to give my hon. Friend detailed particulars.