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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 12 Apr 1961

Vol. 188 No. 2

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Subpostmasters' Grievances: Arbitration Arrangements.


asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether he is aware of the difficulty experienced by subpostmasters in securing meetings, at the agreed intervals, of the Consultative Council which was set up to discuss matters affecting the remuneration and conditions of service of subpostmasters; and that it took almost three years to decide on the only salary claim discussed by the Council; and whether in order to obviate such delays he will set up a system of independent arbitration to deal with subpostmasters' grievances.


asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether on the institution in 1956 of the Subpostmasters' Consultative Council it was specifically agreed that the Council would meet quarterly unless it was confirmed in any quarter that such a meeting was not required; if so whether he will state the dates of the meetings held in 1960 and 1961; and if there was not a meeting each quarter in that period the reason therefor.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions 39 and 40 together.

The agreement between the Department and the Subpostmasters' Union provides for quarterly meetings of the Subpostmasters' Consultative Council unless in any quarter it is agreed that no meeting is required.

In practice, it has not been found necessary to have a meeting each quarter and in 1960 two meetings were held, one on 17th May and the other on 10th October. A meeting has not so far been held this year, but one has been arranged for 17th April.

The only occasion on which the Department has refused a Union request for a meeting was in February, 1960, when a meeting which had been arranged for that month was cancelled because of improper publication by the union of confidential proceedings of the council.

The Consultative Council has dealt with three major salary claims. Two of these as well as some smaller claims were settled in a matter of months. The third claim involved a good deal of research and it was almost three years before agreement was reached.

The provision of an arbitration scheme for subpostmasters would not in my view speed up the treatment of their claims and, as stated in replies to previous questions, it is not proposed to introduce such a scheme.