stamps which were formerly used. At offices where customs parcels were handled and distributed by mail to smaller offices, stamps are usually sent in payment of duty, and cash is i emitted to port of entry, again curtailing the sale of stamps received from the department.
2. An examination into the method of handling customs parcels and the remuneration (even where any is allowed) will reveal the fact that the work actually required to be performed, which is considerable, is practically unpaid for. This is one of the points which we desire to bring to your attention, that uu-remunerative work of this sort is being multiplied while the revenue of the office is being held down by reduced rates of postage.
3. Iu a number of the offices, besides keeping the office open throughout the regulation hours, the postmasters are compelled to await the arrival of a late evening train and again in some instances have to get up at five or six o'clock in the morning to despatch a mail, thus imposing unduly long hours of service without any allowance for any class of assistance, to say nothing of a competent assistant. In some offices, owing to the arrival of several different mails the public is entitled to call and demand individual attention several times during the day, whereas the basis of remuneration makes no special provision for this. In places where tri-weekly trains carry the mails, the postmaster is compelled to remain eleven hours a day for six days a week and provide (if he would give the public anything approaching satisfactory service) for a portion of three days a week, one or more duly qualified assistants. His allowance is inadequate for his own support at present cost of living, thus providing nothing for the payment of assistants.
4. In view of the amount of mail matter to be re-sorted and forwarded, the forwarding allowances do not begin to pay for the work done or the extra office room required. Another department with a deficit.
5. The allowance for rent, fuel, and light is decidedly inadequate. In practically every town where the post office is kept in a separate compartment, the room occupied could be leased for a rental in excess of the full allowance for rent, for heating and for lighting. In the town of Morris, the postmaster is allowed $100 for rent, fuel and light. For less space ir. the same building he receives from the Merchants Bank $350 a year for rent, alone. At Melita the postmaster cancelled a lease bringing him a net annual rental of $180 to use the building for post office purposes on an allowance of $125 for rent, fuel and light. Other similar examples could he cited. Fuel and light are costly here.
6. In the matter of securing proper assistants, we could point out that labour readily commands far larger remuneration in any market than it did a few years ago. To have experienced help available is a severe drain upon the limited exchequer of the postmaster who is unfortunate enough to require it, as nearly all do. Even where help is not regularly required, competent assistance must he had if the postmaster is ever to seek recreation or relief from duty.
7. There is another matter which affects postmasters in the west more particularly, namely, the increased cost of living. This has frequently been brought to the attention of yourself and colleagues in various ways, and we note that already you have conceded the point as in the case of the 20 per cent increase
allowed the letter carriers of Winnipeg. In our opinion this does not represent the actual amount of difference, but is a recognition of that difference. In all lines the cost of living has advanced during the past years, while the postmasters are receiving less pay for more work.
8. A comparison with salaries paid in other departments of the public service and even in other departments of the postal service give an idea of our disadvantages. For example. First-class railway clerks receive $960 and mileage, second-class clerks $880 and mileage. In the city of Winnipeg, the assistant postmaster gets $2,000, first-class clerks, $1,500, second-class, $1,320, third-class, $880, and letter carriers, $720.
We do not think these are too highly paid, hut an office with a revenue of $2,000 not only absorbs all of one person's time, but requires an additional clerk at least a portion of the year. The postmaster of such an office receives for salary, commissions and allowances an average of less than $700 or less than half the amount received by a first-class city clerk, $100 less than a second-class railway mail clerk, and a trifle less than is paid to the city letter carters, and out of this modest income he must employ whatever additional help is required and furnish a suitable office and office equipment. In most cases his hours are longer and his responsibilities greater than those of any of the officials referred to. In one town where the train arrived late and departed early, the postmaster until recently received $3.50 per month for overtime, while the railway agent received $19 a month extra.
In view of the conditions and facts set forth above, we would respectfully suggest the following changes as tending to bring about a redress of our grievances :-
1st. That the straight salary allowance be based on 50 per cent on the first $1,000 worth of stamps sold, and 40 per cent on all additional sales. This would barely off-set the loss resulting from the reduction of letter postage. 2nd. That in Manitoba a special increase of at least 20 per cent be allowed to cover extra cost of living. 3. That the allowance for rent, fuel and light be doubled so as to provide a reasonable rent for the office, and a provision for the cost of light and fuel in this country. 4th. That the money order system be simplified so as to lessen the amount of work performed for the small remuneration allowed and also to increase its popularity with the business public, who now object to the restrictions hedging it around. 5th. In addition to the regular and general scale of allowances we would request, that a special allowance be granted for each extra mail which tends to bring the public again before the wicket for individual attention during the day. That the forward allowance be materially increased to distributing offices. That a special allowance be given to postmasters who are compelled to work before 8 a.m., or after 7 p.m. Among the mechanical industries the special allowance for overtime is very marked. That in the case of offices where mails are so infrequent as to have large quantities of mail matter delivered *t the office at one time, so that the public convenience really requires the employment^ of one or more assistants, an allowance be given towards the payment of such assistant or assistants. 6. In addition to the above we feel that there are a number of cases of special minor grievances which we cannot enter into in detail, but in which we think that a little