I do not know if I have made myself understood. What I meant to say was, where it was possible to find senior men to do the job we did so. When a senior man applied, there was no question of priority. It was only when we had to employ junior men.
I wonder whether the Postmaster General understands the point about which we are concerned. We are not discussing the pay differential. We understand there is a pay differential, and for my part it is justified. But the grievance some of the senior men have is that men who are new in the service, because they took on this more arduous work, not only get a pay differential but also get priority in the matter of holidays. Those who have expressed this grievance have suggested the pay differential should be sufficient so you do not have to deprive the senior men of first choice as to holiday leave.
In 86 centres there was no need to grant priority, there was no change; it was only in 26 offices that we had to grant this incentive in order to get men to do the work. Otherwise we would not have been able to get the job done. I think that summarizes the situation.
Does the Postmaster General not realize that in effect the senior men who did not want to undertake this more arduous work are being penalized for failing to do it by losing the priority they had with respect to vacations?
You could have made the pay differential sufficient instead of penalizing the senior men in respect to priority for holiday leave. I am sure that the Postmaster General realizes that in the 26 centres he refers to this grievance is very real.
The term "penalize" is employed by my hon. friend. We did not have any intention to do that. We do not think we have penalized anybody. We were faced with the fact that we had to implement the 40-hour week and to do that we had to employ these people as relief men. It was done in 86 centres without any change being made. In 26 offices the senior men did not accept. There was no question of going over the senior men, but somebody had to do the job. Since they did not want to do that job, we had to employ other people.
Mr. Chairman, was this matter discussed by the senior officials with the representatives of the men's association? I do not think a matter of this kind should be brought up here until an effort has been made to arrive at an understanding with the officials of the association. I am not blaming the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre for raising it as he has had correspondence on this the same as I have had. However, I think it would have obviated discussion here if the department had followed the practice that is followed in industry where matters of this kind are discussed by the administrative
officers of a company and the representatives of the men. If that had been done here perhaps a satisfactory solution could have been arrived at. If it was not done, I suggest that it should be done.