HC Deb 22 June 1900 vol 84 cc786-7

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that the staff in the cable room of the Central Telegraph Office, London, are being punished for taking thirty-one and thirty-two minutes for dinner, this relief time being the only one permitted when on duty from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and that it frequently happens that one-half of the time is occupied in being served at the refreshment rooms, owing to the arrangements of that branch; and whether the Postmaster General will give instructions that the clerks are to be allowed a reasonable time for dining purposes.


No officer has been punished for exceeding his dinner time—thirty minutes—by one or two minutes. When, however, the excess has been three minutes and upwards the offender has been cautioned, and frequent repetitions of these excesses have very properly been punished by the infliction of extra duty, No relief from the instrument galleries for purposes of refreshment other than the thirty minutes for dinner time is given, but to all on duty later than 5 p.m. tea is served and partaken of by the telegraphists at their circuits. Some little delay in serving dinner is unavoidable at times, but such delay as fifteen minutes rarely occurs, and when the late return of a telegraphist is proved to have arisen from causes over which he had no control the excess time is of course excused. The Postmaster General does not consider that any fresh rule on this subject is necessary.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think that thirty minutes is sufficient for a man to leave the instrument room, get his dinner, and come back again?


Order, order!