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Staff Dismissals

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1952

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37.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the number of staff of his Department who, during the last three months, have become redundant and been dismissed; the number of those so dismissed who were within six months of completing seven years' service; and the amount of gratuity they would have received if they had been allowed to complete seven years' service.

As a result of the policy of regionalisation pursued by successive Postmasters-General, the statistics asked for by the hon. Member are maintained locally and not at headquarters. To obtain them specially would entail disproportionate work and expense. The gratuity payable to temporary staff who have served for seven years or more is based on one week's pay for each completed year of service.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many of these people suffer from a sense of real grievance, that a number of them are widows who are in their 50th year and that the Postmaster-General has decided to dismiss them within weeks of their completing their seventh year of service? Would the hon. Gentleman reconsider this matter to alleviate the grievance which these people feel, and will he consider granting them a gratuity proportionate to their service?

I can assure the hon. Member that no one has been dismissed within a matter of weeks of completing seven years' service, but if the hon. Member cares to send in particulars of any case, I shall be glad to look into it.

Do I understand the hon. Gentleman to say he cannot supply information because it involves sending about eight or nine letters to eight or nine regional controllers? Is that an adequate reason for not disclosing the facts?

It is not a question of eight or nine letters to controllers—or rather to regional directors, if I may correct the right hon. Gentleman—it is a question of applying to head postmasters, and that would require a large number of letters.