asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the temporary staff employed at Stoke-on-Trent during the last Christmas season were paid at rates which were 25 per cent. below the standard rate for temporary employés which had been agreed upon by the Government in consultation with the staff representatives; that the postmaster of Stoke-on-Trent informed the North Staffordshire Trades and Labour Council that the wages provided for in the agreement were not applicable to staff engaged for seasonal pressure; that the postmaster justified the lower rates on the ground that the wages fixed by the agreement were subject to an early reduction which came into operation subsequent to the period in question; and whether, in these circumstances, he will give an assurance that the agreed rate for temporary workers shall be paid to casuals engaged for work during any future Christmas season?
The rates of pay of the staff employed to assist during the Christmas season are fixed, within certain limits, at the discretion of the local postmaster. The standard wage rates for temporary staff referred to are not regarded as necessarily applicable to the casual staff employed at Christmas. It is the case that the rates paid to the casual staff during the last Christmas season were below those then payable to the temporary staff in general, but these rates were then on the point, of reduction; and I have no reason to suppose that the rates actually paid at Stoke-on-Trent were not adequate.