REDUCING, RE-DEFINING AND RETAINING: THE STRUGGLE TO MAINTAIN A STABLE WORKFORCE AND SERVICE IN THE BRITISH POST OFFICE DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR

Mark J. Crowley

Abstract


The General Post Office was Britain’s largest government department and employer during World War Two. The Government’s refusal to classify the organization as an essential wartime industry at the beginning of the war exposed it to the impact of conscription on staffing levels. Deep Treasury cuts to ease the country’s wartime financial woes compounded its difficulties. Faced with tough decisions about the prioritization of its numerous services, and the appropriate deployment of personnel, the vital importance of women to the organization once again came to the forefront, thus facilitating a change to its personnel practices.

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