§ Mr. BOWERMAN
asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the institution of a duty terminating at midnight in the Central Telegraph Office; whether he has considered the fact that the imposition of this duty will in many cases render the normal means of travelling impossible and will entail walking long distances, in consequence of the difficulty of the staff procuring suitable residence within easy access to the Central Telegraph Office; and whether the proposed change from a voluntary to a compulsory basis in the case of abnormally late duties is with his knowledge and consent?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The duty from 5 p.m. to 1.45 a.m., which was the only late duty on a voluntary basis, remains so. The system did not, however, lead to entirely satisfactory results, as the services of the most efficient telegraphists could not always be secured for the duties on which they were most needed; and, as the changed conditions of traffic necessitated the creation of a new duty ending at midnight, it was considered essential that the exceptional arrangement hitherto allowed should not be extended to this case. But the controller of the Central Telegraph Office provided that any officer scheduled for that duty who can show that he would be unable to reach home except at real inconvenience should be allowed to arrange an exchange of duties, and in all cases, so far as possible, consideration will be shown to the telegraphists on the midnight duty. I may add that some years ago there was a duty terminating at midnight, and, although the facilities for travelling were then less than at present, no appreciable inconvenience seems to have been caused.