§ Mr. DEVLIN
asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that a number of girls, relatives of persons employed in the Belfast General Post Office, have been engaged, without competition, as probationers; that these girls, after a period of service, will compete amongst themselves for appointments as female learners, thus excluding hundreds of girls who have been studying for the open competition for these appointments; whether he can state if the usual open competitive examination for female learners in the General Post Office, Belfast, will be held in June of the present year; and, if not, whether it has been decided that vacancies in the Belfast General Post Office are in future to be filled by girls without open competitive examination?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The girl probationers to whom the hon. Member alludes are those who, as I explained in my speech on the Post Office Estimates last year, are employed on indoor duties at certain large offices in lieu of Boy Messengers, and, like the boys, they are selected for reasons of general suitability, and not by examinations. I have not investigated their relationships, but I have ensured impartiality for the future, at all events, by arranging for recruitment through the Juvenile Advisory Committees attached to the Labour Exchanges. The girls are to be absorbed, as far as possible, in adult appointments, but I do not desire to interrupt more than is necessary the open competition for female learnerships. Such a competition will be held at Belfast in June.