HC Deb 05 March 1912 vol 35 cc342-3W

asked the Postmaster-General, whether during the past few years the postal authorities have appointed at Gloucester a number of female telegraph clerks in the place of male clerks, with the result that in the winter months the number of telegraph clerks is in excess of the requirements of the office; and whether, in consequence, a number of male telegraph clerks have in the winter months been transferred to the postal side of the office to discharge day and counter duties, thus compelling a number of postal clerks who have by seniority attained to the position of day counter clerks to revert to sorting and night work, with the result that junior telegraph clerks displace senior postal clerks in the day and counter duties; and, if so, whether he will take steps to remedy this grievance?


The telegraph work at Gloucester is well adapted for the employment of a larger number of women than were employed in the past; but in order to avoid the hardship of transferring men compulsorily to other offices the partial substitution of women for men which ought to have been made has only proceeded as vacancies occurred. In winter, when telegraph work is comparatively light and postal work heavy, it has been the practice to lend some of the surplus male clerks on the telegraph side to the postal side, where they have been employed, as far as possible, on duties corresponding to their seniority and pay and within their capacities. This arrangement is the best that the circumstances permit, preventing, as it does, waste of force on the one side and resort to overtime or temporary labour on the other.