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Friday, 22 June 1906

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - In connexion with the Post and Telegraph Department, I wish to mention a matter for the information of the Government that may not have been brought under their notice. ' If. is a rule of the Department that if a man is brought back to do Sunday work he shall be paid at the rate of time and a half. There ought to be a minimum, and a man should get at least one hour's pay if he is brought back for Sunday work. The work itself may only occupy five minutes, and yet the man's whole day may be spoilt. Payment at the rate of time and a half for five minutes certainly would not compensate him for the inconvenience that he was put to.

Senator Keating - Is there not a minimum of one hour's pay?

Senator GIVENS - I am informed that there is not. Take the case of telegraph operators who are brought back on a Sunday morning for the purpose of telegraphing that a ship has arrived at Thursday Island. Officers at various repeating stations all along the line are brought back to transmit this message. That is all the work that they have to do. I am told that they get little or nothing in the way of payment, and yet the whole of their Sunday morning or afternoon may be spoilt. The people in whose interests these telegraph messages are sent are compelled to pay a sum of 2s. 6d'. for each officer who is thus called upon to do Sunday work, and in addition to that double rates are charged for the telegrams so sent. The double charge for the telegram would be sufficient remuneration to the Department for the use of its plant and instruments, and I think that the 2 s. 6d. paid on account of each officer brought back should be paid to the officer for his extra service.

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