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Department Of Registers And Records

Volume 244: debated on Tuesday 11 November 1930

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the discontent amongst the second class clerks of the Department of the Registers and Records of Scotland owing to the failure to grant to them the terms given to the second division under the Civil Service Reorganisation Report of 1920 and the fact that their representations over a lengthy period have not resulted in the grievance being remedied; and from what date the better conditions contended for will be granted?


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that prior to the year 1920 the second class -clerks in the Department of Registers and Records of Scotland, being a specially qualified body, were put on the same footing as the ordinary second division clerks (now executive officers) and the officers of Customs and Excise, the maximum salary for all these three classes being for the time fixed at £300; that, whilst the executive officers and the officers of Customs and Excise have had various increases of salary and emoluments, the increases to the second class (Register House) clerks have been fractional; that the salary and bonus at the present time for executive officers is £435, for officers of Customs and Excise £442, and for the second class (Register House) clerks £339; and why these second class (Register House) clerks employed in Edinburgh are not treated on the same level as the corresponding classes in England?

The same considerations do not apply to the second class clerks of the Department of the Registers and Records of Scotland as applied on reorganisation to the other classes mentioned; and I understand that a claim by the second class clerks for similar terms to those applied to second division clerks was heard by the Civil Service Arbitration Board in 1923 and that after discussion a settlement by agreement was reached allowing for the differences in the conditions.

I am aware that the second class clerks have since expressed dissatisfaction with the terms of the settlement to which they agreed; and while I can hold out no prospect of going back on that settlement I am prepared to consider any representations made by them on the basis of any change of conditions since that date or of any changes in organisation which may be proposed as a result of the consideration now being given to the recommendations of the Committee on the Registration of Writs presided over by Lord Fleming.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that an appeal by these clerks was made as long ago as 30th May, to which no reply has been given, and is it not time that a reply was forthcoming to the reasons adduced for the improvements they seek?

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think, whatever may be said about cases not being strictly comparable, that the particular and important work of these clerks in the Registry of Sasines in Scotland entitles them to rather more? Does he not think, also, that, through there being only 39 of them, their real interests and their real claims are in inverse ratio to the influence they are able to bring to bear on the Government?

Is it not a fact that these men are highly qualified; also, that a scheme was forced upon them in 1923, and that seven years' operation of that scheme has proved detrimental both to the staff and the department?

I have already said that I am considering representations on that particular point.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether representations have already been made by them?