§ Mr. HAYDAY
asked the Postmaster-General whether the conditions of caretaker operators are in accordance with the Report of the Holt Committee; whether 1855W the Holt Committee recommended that caretaker-operators should be called upon to give a continuous attendance without relief from Saturday night to Monday morning; and whether, in view of the necessity to secure an efficient service, he will consider the possibility of granting reasonable hours of labour to all caretaker-operators and night telephonists?
§ Mr. ILLINGWORTH
The conditions of service of this class are in accordance with the recommendations of the Holt Committee. They are usually required to provide for attention—either personally or by some other individual—to telephone calls at night and during the whole or part of Sunday, and in some cases also during certain hours on week-days, and the liability for duty therefore in many cases covers the period from Saturday night to Monday morning. But the actual work is intermittent, and is often negligible. I have no reason to think that any practicable alternative arrangement would give a more efficient service.
§ Mr. J. A. PARKINSON
asked the Postmaster-General who fixed the number of hours worked by caretaker-operators and in what year was the decision made; whether he is aware that members of this class are listed for, approximately, one hundred hours' duty per week, including a continuous attendance from Saturday night until Monday morning; that during all absence due to sick leave the caretaker-operator has to pay for the cost of a substitute; whether the money allowance equivalent to wages for this task is over more than 10s. per week; and whether, in the interests of efficiency, he proposes to amend these condition?
§ Mr. ILLINGWORTH
The conditions of service of this class are in accordance with the recommendations of a Select Committee of this House which reported in 1913. Caretaker-operators are required to attend, or provide for attention, to telephone calls at night and in some cases during certain hours of the day, and the liability for duty therefore extends over the greater part of the week; but the actual work is not, as a rule, more than intermittent, and is often negligible. The allowance, excluding war bonus, is more than 10s. per week in many cases, and a free living accommodation is provided in all cases. Personal attendance is not required, but a caretaker-operator is1856W expected to provide a substitute it absent on account of illness or from any other cause.