MPs heap pressure on Royal Mail boss
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Embattled Royal Mail boss Simon Thompson has been recalled to the BEIS committee of MPs over the apparently inaccurate information he gave last week – just as CWU members are re-balloting on further industrial action and a cyber attack continues to disrupt its export parcels business.
Earlier this week, CWU general secretary Dave Ward and his deputy Andy Furey also held a webinar with shareholders in Royal Mail parent International Distributions Services, stating the case for employees and urging investors to “raise concerns” with the board and “do everything possible to get the company to reach a settlement”.
The CWU also accused Royal Mail of walking away from the Pathway to Change agreement, which Thompson and the union agreed to back in March 2021.
“The CEO who signed that agreement has walked away from it,” said Ward.
“Where we see the infrastructure Royal Mail has as a competitive advantage which should be used to grow revenues, increase shareholder value and build success for Royal Mail – they see it as a disadvantage.”
During the webinar the CWU also highlighted the salary and bonus payments made to executives, and the apparent drastic reversal of Royal Mail’s financial performance.
“It is astonishing to the CWU that the IDS Board has led the company from massive profits to record losses in the space of just six months,” the union stated.
The CWU also reacted gleefully to news of Thompson’s recall to the BEIS committee, where chair Darren Jones had accused Thompson of prioritising parcels over letters and its USO obligations.
Ward and Furey’s submissions to the panel have not been queried.
Following the hearing, Sky News reported that the MPs involved had been inundated with complaints and had been sent evidence that contradicted Thompson’s answers.
At the time of the committee, the CWU said it was “quite astonishing to hear the most senior person in charge of a prestigious 507-year-old company such as Royal Mail, giving such unsatisfactory responses that the Select Committee Chair felt the need to warn him about ‘misleading Parliament’.”
The fresh ballot over strike action is open for three weeks.
Separately, in the latest update regarding the cyber attack – reportedly the work of Russian-linked ransomware gang Lockbit – Royal Mail said that it had resumed international export despatches for all mail streams including parcels and letters “across a growing number of international destinations”.
The business said it was “making good progress” in despatching items that were already in its network.
However, Royal Mail is still asking customers not to submit new parcels for export.
Printweek has approached Royal Mail for comment.