Mr. T. THOMSON
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether 500 or 600 first-class women clerks, some of them promoted 10 or 15 years ago from the second-class clerk grade and since promotion employed on supervisory or super-clerical duties, have been degraded to the lower clerical grade, which is the lowest clerical grade in the Service; whether any of these women have been employed on duties formerly performed by second division or intermediate men now graded executive; whether any male grade has been assimilated to a grade with a lower minimum and a lower age of entry than that out of which they have been promoted; and, since this grading is a breach of the promise made by the Chancellor on 5th August, 1921, that the three years before women had equal entry into the service should not be used to worsen the position of women, will he reconsider the matter?
First-class women clerks (a grade normally filled by promotion from the second class) have, subject to fitness, been assimilated to the clerical1512W class, such assimilation being provisional in the case of any officers who will be allotted to higher posts on reorganisation. The duties of the clerical class include a measure of supervisory work, and a class whose previous maximum was £150 a year cannot be said to be degraded on being placed on an improved scale rising to £180. It is impracticable within the limits of this answer to cover the ground of individual duties of members of the class. As regards the third part of the question, there are a number of male classes (minor staff clerks, for example) who have been assimilated to the same class as has a grade previously inferior to themselves. There is therefore no foundation for the suggestion that the assimilation of first-class women clerks has been carried out in such a manner as to constitute a breach of the promise made by my right hon. Friend on the 5th August last.