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Cable And Wireless

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1951

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asked the Postmaster-General what action is being taken to remedy the deficiency in technical staff in Cable and Wireless.

The small shortage in the technical establishments transferred to the Post Office is being made good from normal sources of recruitment.

Does the hon. Gentleman's reply mean that there is now no shortage of staff on the technical side of Cable and Wireless?

Had the hon. Gentleman listened to my reply, he would have heard that I did not say that.


asked the Postmaster-General what is the estimated deficiency of operators at Cable and Wireless; what is the average monthly intake of recruits; and how long is the period of training.

The United Kingdom shortage at present is 500, including 231 on ancillary duties. There are 382 recruits in training, with an average monthly intake of 50. The period of training varies from six months for inland operating to 12 months for overseas cable work.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this problem is at the root of the very big decline in the cable service, and is he satisfied that all steps that should be taken are being taken to get the proper number of operators?

It is one of the causes, but I do not think it is one of the main causes. We are giving this matter active consideration.

Is it true that the service is deteriorating since it was nationalised?


asked the Post master-General the total average emoluments, including salary, bonus, overtime, Sunday duty and any other allowances, of a male telegraph operator in the London Station of Cable and Wireless, Ltd., for the years 1946 and 1950, respectively.

The figures are £765 and £592. The hon. Member is no doubt aware, from my right hon. Friend's reply of 28th February, that the former figure includes a non-pensionable and variable profits bonus.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the prospects of these men have deteriorated since nationalisation, and can he give an assurance that pre-nationalisation contracts with these men are still being fulfilled under nationalisation?

This is an industrial matter, and the rates of pay were freely negotiated between the trade unions concerned.