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Irish Sub-Postmasters—Remuneration Grievances

Volume 92: debated on Monday 1 April 1901

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I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether complaints have been received from or on behalf of sub-masters in Ireland with reference to their remuneration; whether he is aware that the hours of duty of these officials range from thirteen to fourteen hours daily on week-days, and two to three hours on Sundays, while their total salary averages less than £70 per annum, out of which has to be provided an office, clerical assistance, light, and fuel, and that this was admitted as an injustice by the Tweedmouth Committee; can he state the average emoluments of a sub-postmaster in England; and will steps be taken to place Irish sub-postmasters in as good a position as that held by English officials.

No general complaint has been received from or on behalf of sub-postmasters in Ireland with reference to their remuneration The Postmaster General is aware that the hours during which sub-offices are open for post office business are generally thirteen a day—namely, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., but, of course, the personal attendance of sub-postmasters is not required during the whole of that period. The duties are shared by the sub-postmaster and his assistants, who are often also employed in the sub-master's private business. The hon. Member appears to be under a misapprehension as to the finding of the Tweedmouth Committee respecting the remuneration of sub-postmasters. The Committee reported that the advantages of holding a sub-office are considerable, and that they could not recommend any general increase of remuneration. They did, however, recommend that the Post Office should fully consider the various items on which a sub-postmaster's salary is based, so as to ensure the sufficiency of his emoluments at every point; and this has been done, with the result that increased pay was given on certain items—notably Sunday work—at an additional expense of nearly £30,000. The average emoluments of a, sub-postmaster in England cannot be stated. There are some 15,000 such officers. Irish sub-postmasters are paid on a common scale with sub-postmasters in the rest of the United Kingdom, and are in all respects in as good a position as English sub-postmasters.

Am I to understand that Irish sub-postmasters are paid extra for Sunday work?

I am told they are paid on the same scale as English sub-postmasters. If the hon. Member wishes further information I must ask for notice.

But what I want to get at is, have their salaries been increased for Sunday work?

I understand that to be so, but I cannot give the rates of increase. As a result of the Tweedmouth Committee's Report increased pay was given them on several items, and notably on Sunday work.