§ Mr. ALDEN
asked the Postmaster-General if Mr. H. Collins, a sorter attached to the foreign section, was lent to the telegraph side owing to his being a skilled telegraphist; whether he is aware that Mr. Collins appealed before his local tribunal as a conscientious objector and was given six months' exemption conditional on continuing his work as a telegraphist; if he was returned to the sorting office as a form of punishment because of his conscientious objection, in order to become amenable to the Military 1313W Service Acts; whether some sorters employed on telegraph work have asked and been refused permission to return to postal duties; and whether he will consider the desirability of utilising the services of this man rather than giving an appearance of persecution for holding unpopular views?
§ Mr. ILLINGWORTH
Mr. Collins was at one time employed on the telegraph side, but was withdrawn from that work in July last solely because his services were more needed on the postal side. There is no question of penalising him for his conscientious objections to military sendee. Mr. Collins is not indispensable for the work of the Post Office, and I cannot withhold him on Post Office grounds from military service. His case must be decided by the tribunal. I am not aware that other sorters engaged on telegraph duties have been refused permission to. revert to postal duties.