§ Mr. Tom Boardman
asked the Postmaster-General what were the total annual earnings of the overseas telegraphists prior to 31st January, 1969; what are their estimated total earnings subsequent to 31st January, 1969; and what estimate he made of the comparable cost of the final terms put forward by the Union of Post Office Workers prior to 24th January, 1969.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
The total earnings of overseas telegraph operators for the year ended 31st January, 1969, were £6.17 millions. Including the 5 per cent. increase from 1st August, 1968, to be paid as a result of the pay settlement reached on 31st January, 1969, these will be increased retrospectively to £6.32 millions. Total earnings for the forthcoming year will reflect the productivity increases still to be quantified, and will also depend on such factors as changes in staff numbers and levels of overtime. It is impossible to forecast the effect of all these. The U.P.W.'s last firm proposal before the settlement was for a 5 per cent. increase from 1st July, 1968, without any specific298W productivity proposals. This would have brought earnings for the year ended 31st January, 1969, up to £6.35 millions, but again no forecast can be made for the year ahead.