§ Mr. DUCKWORTH
asked the Postmaster-General, (1) if the workmen now being discharged from the Post Office engineering department are connected in any way with telephone installation; and, if so, whether all such installation work is fully up to date?
(2) the reasons for the discharge throughout the country of a number of workmen hitherto employed in the Post Office engineering department; the numbers of such dismissals according to districts of the department; whether expert men, with many years' service are being discharged with one week's salary only; and whether, in view of the desirability of avoiding any increase of unemployment at the present moment, he will suspend the notice of all such dismissals.
§ Viscount WOLMER
I will answer the hon. Member's questions together. Most of the workmen discharged from the Post Office Engineering Department were previously engaged on the construction of telegraph and telephone lines. The workmen whose services have been retained are considered to be sufficient in number to cope with demands for telephone installations now on hand. It has, unfortunately, been necessary to discharge some men who have given considerable service to the Post Office. I will send the hon. Member a schedule showing the discharges, district by district. The terms of engagement of workmen admit of their discharge without notice, but it is the practice to give as long notice as possible. I am afraid that I should not he justified in retaining the services of men for whom no work is available, but the discharged men will be considered for further employment as opportunities occur.