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Dismissed Postmen (Glasgow)

Volume 440: debated on Tuesday 22 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Labour how many ex-postmen, including temporary postmen, have applied for work through his Department in Glasgow this year; how many of these men are now unemployed; and how many of these unemployed men are over 50 years of age.


asked the Minister of Labour the number of persons, formerly temporary postmen, who have registered at the Glasgow employment exchanges to the latest available date; and how many have been directed to other industries.

Between 1st January and 18th July, mainly since the end of May this year, 76 men who had been employed as temporary postmen registered for employment at exchanges in Glasgow. Sixty-four, including 44 over age 50, were still unemployed at the end of last week. Of the 12 who obtained employment, seven were placed by my Department and five found work by their own efforts.

As the right hon. Gentleman cannot find work for these men through his Department, will he advise the Postmaster-General to take them back into the Post Office so that they can do some useful work?

I could not give a promise to take that advice because I am under the impression that the Postmaster-General has considered the situation very carefully and he is taking back the men who left to go to the Forces and who have a prior claim.

As some of these dismissals were made in association with his Department, because of the Government's decision to reduce the numbers in the various Departments will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of having closer contact with the Postmaster-General before dismissals take place, particularly in an area where unemployment is already much higher than it is in many other parts of the country?

Of course, the Postmaster-General must be responsible for deciding the size of his staff, and which of those staff, in accordance with established customs and the agreement with the Whitley Council, are to be dismissed. It would not be for me to intervene.

Was there any consultation between the Postmaster-General and the right hon. Gentleman before these men were dismissed, and did the right hon. Gentleman give to the Postmaster-General any forecast of the probabilities of finding employment in Glasgow for the men?

So far as my recollection goes at the moment, there was no such consultation. Quite definitely, I cannot see that there should be.

Is it not a tact that, since the dismissal of these men, female labour has been taken on to replace them; was not the purpose of getting rid of these men to make the labour available elsewhere to meet shortages; and do not these figures show that, in fact, this has not come about because the men have not been absorbed into other employment?

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is basing assumptions on a position which I do not think exists. I have no information whether or not females were employed in their place. I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman would get that information from the Postmaster-General.

Has not the Postmaster-General made it quite clear in this House that he has had to restrict his staff and cut down the services in consequence, and would it not be better if there was some co-ordination?

I assume that the Postmaster-General, in company with many other Ministers, has examined his staff in the light of the continual agitation that the staffs are too large. If a Minister finds that his staff is larger than he thinks is necessary, he ought not to be blamed if he cuts it down.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the action was taken by the Postmaster-General so that these men could be put into work in connection with production and, since that cannot be done, will he consult again with the Postmaster-General?

Again, I must say that I cannot answer for the Postmaster-General, but I can say that, so far as I am aware at the Ministry of Labour, the Government have never given any indication that men should be discharged from one job in the hope that, being unemployed, they will be forced into another. That is totally contrary to the policy of the Government.