asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, having regard to the fact that the approximate average ordinary hours worked weekly by civil servants is about 44 or less, these hours could not be increased during the war, thus saving overtime pay and releasing surplus staff for war work.
My hon. Friend must distinguish between the hours which civil servants work and the conditions on which they are paid. As he has frequently been informed, the hours have been heavily increased during the war, and the average working week of civil servants at the present time is 51 hours inclusive of mealtimes. In some Departments it is a good deal longer than 51 hours. Certain classes of lower-paid civil servants are entitled to overtime payment for hours in excess of 44 (or in some cases 42), but, as I said in reply to a similar Question on 17th March, the conditions under which payment is made for overtime are governed by awards of the Industrial Court or by agreements with the appropriate Staff Associations, and it would be contrary to the policy of His Majesty's Government to vary such arrangements by unilateral action.