MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, will he explain the circumstances under which a number of junior postmen employed in the General Post Office, Dublin, have been promoted to positions above their seniors; whether the majority of these promotions involved no increase of salary to these officers, and no expenses to the Department, owing to these postmen being in receipt of allowances for stamping, sorting, and other duties prior to the Report of the Committee on Post Office Establishments; and whether this is in conformity with the rules of the Department; and, seeing that the Postmaster General in the Jubilee year of 1897 stated, in reply to a memorial of the 633 Dublin postmen for the erasing of bad records, that all such records should be retained in order that men of long service and good conduct might not be passed over when promotions offered, whether their positions of supervision in the Telegraph Messengers' Department are about being filled on the same system by junior postmen?
§ MR. HANBURY
Three postmen who stood at Nos. 2, 3, and 4 on the general body were promoted to be assistant inspectors of postmen, and these officers obtained an improved scale, and an immediate increase of pay. At the same time it was necessary to choose five postmen to act as head postmen, and four as assistant head postmen, with special allowances in addition to their pay as postmen. In these cases also the Postmaster General felt bound to select those who were certified to be the best qualified for the discharge of the duties to be performed, and it was a matter of regret to him to be unable to select a number of the senior postmen. It is the case that five of the nine postmen chosen to act as head or assistant head postmen had previously been granted allowances for other duties of equal amount to those now given them, and that their selection brings them no increase of pay. As regards the third paragraph of the honourable Member's Question, the words of the reply given in July last to the application from Dublin postmen to have all discipline records cancelled were as follows—The discipline records in question are preserved in order that the Department may be in possession of the necessary information respecting the conduct and abilities of its servants to enable it not merely to mete out punishment and rewards, but to see that unfit men are not promoted to positions of trust, and to prevent the grave injustice that would arise if men of good conduct were not to receive the consideration which they deserve. The records are also necessary for pension purposes.Three postmen have recently been chosen, to act as assistant inspectors of telegraph messengers, and the Postmaster General has felt bound to select those officers who were best qualified for this special duty. He sees nothing in this action inconsistent with the statement quoted above.