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7 July, 1927.]

Sir R. RUSSELL SCOTT, K.C.B., C.S.I.

7453. No agreement being reached on any question of the review of hours or wages the Government would take no action?-No such undertaking was given.

7454. In your historical account which you gave to us you twice instanced cases where no agreement could be come to on the Whitley Council, and therefore no action was taken. I was wondering whether henind that there was any possible undertaking or previous promise on the part of the Government that if no agreement were reached they would take no action? Certainly no such undertaking has ever been given. What happens inevitably in such cases is that the Government has got to decide.

7455. Yes, but the Government of the day have always the power, if they wish, to readjust, reduce, or increase the hours or wages of the Civil Service even though there be no agreement on may the Whitley Council to that effect?-That power is inherent in Government.

7456. When they established the Whitley Council they did not give away that power in any respect ?-In respect.

Mr. Cyril Lloyd.

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7457. May I ask you one or two questions about overtime. I rather gathered from your review that there is a preference for working Saturday afternoon in Government service rather than working prolonged overtime on the ordinary days of the week?-I am sorry if I gave that impression. I did not mean to. hours that are actually worked would be according to the requirements of the Department. If a clerk is required to stay on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday the clerk stays. If it is convenient from the point of view of organisation that the work should be done on a Saturday afternoon the clerk would stay on Saturday afternoon.

7458. May I just put one or two points about this question of the necessity of more staff, or the necessity of restriction of staff. I want to be clear just how the judgment is exercised in those cases. Am I right in supposing that the initiative lies entirely with the head of the Department; that is to say, if he says: "I am understaffed I must have more staff," the Treasury, broadly speaking, accepts his dictum and gives him more staff?-No.

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7459. Then on what principle do you review his demands?-Do you say, for instance, "You are not doing 5 per cent. or 10 per cent. overtime,' or on what principle is his demand reviewed?-The treatment of such applications would naturally and inevitably vary according to their nature, but what in fact happens is that the Treasury acts in cooperation with Departments with the object of keeping costs down as much as possible. It frequently happens that the Treasury would actually go and inspect the work in respect of which the application was made, and in the process of that inspection of the work the inspecting officer from the Treasury would use all his experience which he has acquired. over a much wider field, as to method and organisation, with the object of seeing whether an increase of work could not be arranged for by some economical process. In that enquiry into the case the Treasury and the establishment officer of the Department would act in concert. The establishment officer would only too glad to get any information, as to method, as to the use of labour-saving devices, and so on, which the Treasury officer with his wider experience could contribute.

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7460. Broadly speaking, would it be likely that an application from the accounting officer for more staff would be successful if his actual experience was not showing, we will say, 10 per cent. of overtime? The case cannot really be put so simply as that.

7461. I am only trying to put it in broad general terms. May I put it another way. Supposing he had no overtime experience at all, is it still conceivable that an application for extra staff would be admitted?-Generally speaking, one might say that the new or additional requirement is, so to say, fully in play before the application for increased staff comes along. As I said just now, it really is not possible to reply to a question like that in terms of a quite simple all-embracing formula.

7462. The broad fact then is, you would not say that the question of overtime or not is a major consideration in reviewing such an application?-It would certainly arise in a good many of these cases. The Ministry of Health case has been taken as a case in point. The

Treasury policy, as I have put it just now, is to discourage continuous overtime, and in a case like the Ministry of

7 July, 1927.]

Sir R. RUSSELL SCOTT, K.C.B., C.S.I.

Health, if we found that the enormous block of new work which arises out of the Contributory Pensions Act was the cause of continuous and excessive overtime, we should much prefer to see extra work dealt with by an appropriate addition of staff than to continue the process of continuous and excessive overtime.

7463. Would that be so if you withdrew the word "excessive 39 and you had continuous overtime within the range between 33 hours per week and 42 hours per week where the extra cost per hour to the Government remains the same ?In such cases I think regard would be had to the general conditions of service of the people concerned. The rule applicable to these classes we have been considering mainly this afternoon is that their normal hours of attendance should be seven per day with a half holiday on Saturday if the state of public business permits. I think it would be straining those conditions of service if they were interpreted in terms of a habitual 42-hour week.

7464. You do not consider it reasonable that the Government should normally and regularly seek to secure those nine hours to which they are actually entitled without extra charge?-I think if that were the position then it would be right to make that position clear in the conditions of service under which you enter the people in the Service.

7465. It is not clear in those conditions? What these people are told is that they will get their Saturday half holiday if the state of public business permits, and I have no doubt that is interpreted by the ordinary entrants into the Civil Service as meaning that a clerk will normally get away for Saturday half holiday and will not be kept at the office on Saturday afternoon unless there is a pressure.

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7466. I understand he could still do that if he worked sufficient overtime hours on the other five days of the week to make up?-Whether he stays Monday, or Tuesday, or Saturday is not really material. That is not really within the clerk's discretion at all. He is told by the Department that extra work is required to be done on Monday, Tuesday, or Saturday.

7467. So that if it could be arranged, the Government is quite entitled to secure from any man the 42 hours, and can do So without extra charge per hour, and without depriving the man of his half

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holiday on Saturday?-If you are to change the existing conditions of service there are various ways in which the conditions of service could be changed. The one you have suggested is no doubt one among others.

7468. But that would be a change of condition? I think so, certainly.

7469. But it is permissive in existing conditions. It is implicit in them?—It the arrangement you are now suggesting were to be made the normal arrangement, I think it would be right to alter the published conditions of service accordingly.

7470. It would not vary the actual conditions although it may not be really in evidence in a published account of them?-Under the existing arrangement a clerk is not entitled to payment for overtime until he has worked 42 hours in the week. That is quite clear. The only question is whether they should habitually be made to work 42 hours a week notwithstanding the fact that the conditions of service under which they are recruited do not say that they must do that, but say something really different.

7471. Is not the assumption reasonable that the average should be more or less half way between the 42 hours and the 33 hours; that is to say, would it not be reasonable to expect a man to do 44 hours of that permissive time as a normal thing? Is it not reasonable to suppose that that was in the minds of the people who laid down this scheme?-I hope I have not suggested by any answer I have given that that extra free time so far as the Government is concerned is not in fact to a considerable extent being worked already; because if I have made any such suggestion it would not be correct.

7472. I want to ask you how is the opposite position judged; that is to say, who is the deciding factor when there is an excess of staff? Is the Treasury constantly having reviews of the staffs of individual Departments with a view to seeking excesses, or is that dependent on the accounting officer in each case?The arrangement is this. In the Establishments Department of the Treasury there are three divisions, each of which is responsible for questions affecting a particular group of departments. The result of that arrange

ment is that the officers of those three divisions become very familiar with the internal conditions of the particular group

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7 July, 1927.]

Sir R. RUSSELL SCOTT, K.C.B., C.S.I.

of departments with which they are concerned. They are constantly inside those departments, and they therefore know and have in their mind the whole time a great deal of information as to the method of working all those departments, and their changing requirements, and it would be open to any of those divisions of the Treasury at any time to take the initiative if it so chose, and if it considered that the method of working should be changed in a particular way so that a reduction of staff might become possible. I would merely add to that that in these days there is inside the various departments an Establishment Branch consisting of people who spend their whole day in seeing how the department can be run as economically and efficiently as possible.

7473. Would you put it then that there is constant and really serious and adequate pressure for the restriction of staffs in cases where it is at all possible? -I can certainly say this. If the Treasury by reason of their knowledge of the department and its requirements saw a possibility, owing to some change of requirement or possibly owing to some change of method, of effecting a reduction, it would certainly get into correspondence with the department.

7474. May I put it in a simple form. Supposing you take a specific Ministry and find a very large volume of staff pouring out of a department at halfpast four on a summer afternoon, evidently with their work not only just finished but thoroughly finished, would there not be some prima facie case in the mind of the particular man attached to that department, or the divisional officer, for a reduction of staff until there became apparent some progress in occasional overtime towards, say, 36 hours? -That question would appear to suggest that everyone in the department leaves punctually on the stroke of five o'clock, or whatever the hour may be.

7475. I say if they did?—I thought you put it absolutely rather than hypothetically.

7476. No. I say if they did. I have a case in mind, as a matter of fact?—I think you might see a large stream of people coming out of a department at a particular time of day, but there is no reason to believe that other people are not still left doing work inside that

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department. It is quite true that, particularly in these large offices where you have a mass production process going

on the whole time, where the work is highly specialised and sub-divided, the work as a whole can normally be arranged by way of a very accurate equation of requirement to staff. Even so you will find that people are staying behind to clear things up, although it may be quite true that the larger proportion of the staff emerge at the appointed time.

7477. But you say that the work in these highly specialised offices does lend itself to very accurate equation of time to staff. My point is this. If that is so, surely the equation ought to take effect not exactly at four-thirty or somewhere on the sunny side of four-thirty as a regular thing. Full occupation of each of those individuals ought to be assured by aiming, we will say, at a quarter to five, or a little of the overtime which indeed is the due of the Government without extra charge, and if the equation can be so accurately made, it would be a demonstration of its accurate adjustment if very few of those people turned out regularly at the zero hour? What you are suggesting in fact is that the conditions of services of these people should be changed?

7478. Well, that is what I do not understand. You say it does mean a change in the conditions of service, and yet we are given to understand that the Government has an indefeasible right to another nine hours, as a broad statement, but probably to half that, I should have thought, as a regular thing? Well, I can only say this. On any such assumption I think it would be right to make the facts clear in the conditions of service. All I am suggesting is that the clerk who goes into the Civil Service on the present basis would interpret the conditions of service as meaning that normally he or she would work a sevenhour day from Monday to Friday inclusive, and normally would get away for Saturday afternoon.

7479. I am only pressing this point because I think in it lies to some extent the public criticism of the Civil Service hours. The normal economic parallel to a great deal of this staff does not finish absolutely to time; it may be only ten minutes afterwards, or it may be half an hour afterwards; but it has a fluctuating quantum in which it

7 July, 1927.]

Sir R. RUSSELL SCOTT, K.C.B., C.S.I.

does finish. Its work is sufficient to take it over the dead zero hour. When the public sees Government staff finishing absolutely at the zero hour, that is really where the public criticism begins to arise?-The answer to that is that whilst it is no doubt quite true in these cases that considerable numbers of the staff do get away at the appointed time, it is also true that over the Service as a whole, and merely paying regard to the class we are now considering -I am not talking about other classes of civil servants who habitually work a great deal of overtime; I am talking about those classes with the seven-hour day-considerable numbers of them would be found throughout the Service working more than the minimum seven hours, or more than the half-day on Saturday.

7480. I am not disputing that at all. I am only seeking to know whether there is not room for a higher load per unit of staff within the present terms of engagement and without hardship to the staff itself?-You can only get a higher load by lengthening the hours or by increasing the load during the authorised hours. Those are the only two ways you can do it. So far as the hours are concerned, I think I have put at the disposal of the Committee all the information I can. So far as making the load harder is concerned, all I can say is that I have been round in the course of my duty to a considerable number of these establishments, and I am bound to say that the intensity of work in those establishments is, I should think, at least up to good practice outside.

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any degree of accuracy at all? Did you take approximate figures?-It is rather difficult to work out. It would entail a great deal of trouble and expense to work out anything approaching an exact calculation. Assuming you had 30,000 people concerned, you could argue from that arithmetically that an increase to an 8-hour day would dispose of about 3,000 of them, and you have to relate the 3,000 to the £500,000.

7485. We may accept that then as an approximate Treasury estimate?—Yes.

Sir Assheton Pownall.

7486. You mention, I think, that £60,000,000 of stipends were involved. 1 cannot quite relate that figure to your figure of 30,000 employees, because it would work out at £2,000 apiece?—I am afraid that my whole statement at that point was based on a misunderstanding of something I happened to read in the evidence that was sent to me in regard to this question. I had thought that the suggestion had been made that if an 8-hour day were introduced the State would save 17 per cent. of its administrative expenses.

7487. But that £60,000,000 surely includes Post Office workers ?-It includes everybody.

7488. Roughly, what would be the stipends of the 30,000 who might work an extra hour on clerical work?-If you say £200 a year or something like that -I have not got the figure, but assume it was £200 a year.

7489. That gives us in round figures £6,000,000, not £60,000,000, and on that basis the saving of £500,000 is onetwelfth. That is a very rough calculation? I am afraid that I have been guilty of promoting some obscurity at this point. I only talked about the £60,000,000 because I was under the impression that a suggestion had been made that if we got rid of the 7-hour day and introduced the 8-hour day the State would save 17 per cent. of its staff costs. Actually I was under a misapprehension with regard to the statement which was made. Putting it in

the form of a sum you might say, very roughly, on an arithmetical basis, which I explained could not be an actual basis, that if you converted 30,000 7-hour a day people into 30,000 8-hour a day people you would have a saving of, say, 3,000 people. If you then proceed on the

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7 July, 1927.]

Sir R. RUSSELL SCOTT, K.C.B., C.S.I.

assumption that each of those peopletypists, shorthand-typists, and clerksis getting on the average £200 a year, it gives you £600,000, which is not very remote from my £500,000.

7490. That is how I checked your figure. Supposing one of the clerical staff were working normally from 10 to 5 for six days in the week, in theory including Saturday, i.e., a 42-hour week, and supposing, let us say, on Monday and Tuesday two hours overtime were required, would that extra overtime be paid for if it was ascertained that the clerk in question got away as usual at lunch time on Saturday?—No, there would be no payment in that case.

7491. It is taken in water-tight compartments week by week?-Each week is taken as a water-tight compartment.

7492. Otherwise there would be overtime paid for in the early part of the week, when actually, allowing for the Saturday half-holiday, there would be. considerably less than the full hours worked? The thing is reckoned at the end of the week in terms of a week's attendance.

7493. But in the 42 hours the lunch hour is taken as being worked?-It is hours of attendance. That phrase is used, I think, in the Order in Council.

7494. As regards Orders in Council, I suppose the State has the power to alter the length of the working day by Order in Council, and could make it, if it wanted, a 10-hour day or an 11-hour day? -The power is inherent, as I said, in Government.

7495. With regard to the conditions of service for new entrants, do those conditions mention the hours?-In what document?

7496. You said the conditions of service for new entrants had been modified? -The regulations which are issued by the Civil Service Commissioners to candidates for the Civil Service, in so far as those regulations apply to classes subject to the 7-hour day condition, would all contain a footnote; I think it is to the effect that the hours of attendance are subject to review.

7497. And stating what they are?What they are would be set out above.

7498. So that they are subject to review?-Yes.

7499. I gather that has only been put in comparatively recently?—Yes.

7500. So that there would be something of a grievance if those who joined before they were told the hours were sub

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7503. That was last raised in 1922, I think you said ?-On the National Whitley Council, do you mean?

7504. Yes. It was raised in its most recent phase that we have been discussing this afternoon, in the first instance in 1922, and this particular matter remained on the agenda of the National Council for some months after that in regard to the original proposal. Then in 1924, although the decision of Government was arrived at first of all in 1923, the matter was re-raised on the National Council in the modified form which I described earlier on.

7505. Has it been definitely dropped, or is it still brought forward on the agenda? It is no longer on the agenda of the Council.

7506. The Government have dropped it for the time being? The present position is that, so far as the existing Civil Servants conditioned to a 7-hour day are concerned, the Government do not propose to make any change; so far as new recruits to the Civil Service are concerned the matter is left open for further consideration.

7507. By a Committee, or by whom?— I do not know what form the consideration might or might not take.

7508. It is in the state of having been left open for consideration since 1922, or 1924, as regards new entrants-a longish period anyhow ?—It was in 1925 that one might say the matter was discharged from the agenda of the National Whitley Council.

7509. As regards those now serving?Even as regards new entrants, because when the modified proposal was put forward before the National Whitley Council in 1924 the two sides could not agree to set up a Committee even on the basis of the modified proposal.

7510. And the matter is still nebulous? -What form the further consideration of the question might take I cannot say.

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