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Wednesday, 29 June 1938

Mr BLACKBURN (Bourke) (6:48 AM) . - I direct the attention of the Government to the. following paragraph which appears in the June issue of the Monthly Circular issued by the PostmasterGeneral's Department in Victoria : -

Employmentof Exempt Junior Telephonists.

The amended conditions governing the employment of exempt junior telephonists provide for the retention of the services of such officers until they reach the age of twenty years, provided they agree in writing to continue without increased remuneration beyond the wagescale appropriate to exempt junior telephonists over eighteen years of age.

Postmasters in charge of exchanges where exempt junior telephonists are employed should note and take the necessary action to otbain the written agreements referred to, and forward them to the Superintendent, Telephone Branch, General Post Office, Melbourne, or the District Telephone Officers, approximately two (2) months before the exempt junior telephonist concerned reaches her nineteenth birthday.

This provision seems to me to take a very mean advantage of these girls. They are told, in effect, that if, upon reaching the age of eighteen years, they are prepared to work until they reach the age of twenty years, without any further increase of salary, their services will be retained; otherwise they will be dismissed. Surely this matter only needs to be referred to in order to be rectified.

I direct attention also to the unsatisfactory state of affairs in relation to boys who are invited to compete for certain junior positions in the PostmasterGeneral's Department, These lads pay a registration fee for the necessary examination and are led to expect that if they pass they will be appointed to positions. Unfortunately, many boys pass for whom positions are never found, for the number of vacancies is far short of the number of qualified applicants, and when the boys reach the age of sixteen years they are told that they are too old to be appointed. The whole system is unfair as it causes a great deal of anxiety to parents, and leaves many of the boys stranded. Surely some other method could be adopted which would not have such undesirable results.

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