§ Mr. BOWEN
asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the male night telephone staff in trunks and toll exchanges will, under present conditions, enjoy approximately an average of only one Christmas Day free from duty every 10 years; whether he has given consideration to the great pressure of work entailed on this staff during Christmas evening and night, due to the lower fees chargeable for calls in that period; whether he has considered any method of encouraging the public to use the telephone earlier in the day; or what arrangements he can make which will allow the staff to have a better opportunity of enjoying relief on Christmas evening and night similarly to other sections in the Post Office service, and other industries where restricted services are in force on Christmas Day?1238W
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
The number of telephone calls to be dealt with during the night period on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is as great as the number on ordinary nights, and it is necessary if the work is to be properly handled that the night telephone staff on duty at the exchanges named should be maintained at its usual strength. Any measures which could be taken in order to encourage earlier telephoning, even if successful, would make it necessary to increase the number of day telephonists employed in the afternoon, and would thus benefit the night staff at their expense. I am afraid that the exigencies of the telephone service necessarily require the staff to work a part of a time at Christmas and holiday seasons; but I may explain that night telephonists receive additional pay at rate and a half for all attendance on Christmas Day, and have a day's holiday in lieu of Boxing Day.