The Post Office, under fire for the parlous state of its finances, has been accused of ‘sneaking out’ its annual accounts, which highlight the over-generous pay of top bosses.
Unite, the country’s largest union, today (Thursday 4 August) criticised the running of the Post Office which ‘quietly’ made its report and accounts available on its website.
Unite’s renewed criticism of the Post Office management comes just days after the union wrote to the new business secretary Greg Clark urging him to investigate the financial state of the Post Office, ultimately owned by the government.
Unite pinpoints the fact Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells is being paid more than £600,000-a-year and finance director Al Cameron earns in excess of £500,000.
Unite officer for the Post Office Brian Scott said: “This is another example of ‘fat cats’ being rewarded for a catalogue of failure – the whole parlous state of the organisation needs to be urgently investigated by the new business secretary Greg Clark.
“This is compounded by the non-executive directors receiving a pay boost from £40,000-a-year to £45,000, and, in one case, to £50,000. The recently appointed chairman, Tim Parker receives more.”
“The Post Office sneaked out its annual accounts without any fanfare via its website.”
Unite is currently preparing for an industrial action ballot, including strike action, of its 860 managerial members because of continuing redundancies, the franchising of a further 20 crown offices and the pension scheme closure. The ballot is expected to start in the middle of August.
The latest episode provoking concern is the decision to close the final salary pension scheme from next March which will mean reduced retirement incomes for the scheme’s 3,500 members, despite the scheme having a very healthy surplus.
Brain Scott added: “The emphasis within the report is a move towards more reliance on the sub-office network at the expense of the crown network which has been the backbone of the service to the public over the decades.
“This is happening at the very time redundancies are being made and crown branches are being franchised out. The supply chain division is also being decimated, with a cut of more than 50 per cent.
“At the same time, the Post Office wants to close its pension scheme even though its accounts show that assets are at £407 million and liabilities are £184 million. It is also ‘writing off’ £10 million for its mobile operation which only last year was heralded as a major area for investment.
“The Post Office has no plans for the future - and the cuts to jobs, pensions, and the crown network are designed to mask the real problems that exist.
“Unite condemns the Post Office for failing to deliver a robust business plan and to secure the business’ future.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
There are about 3,500 staff affected by the proposed pension scheme closure and the Post Office has indicated that the total number of redundancies this year could reach 1,700, of which 1,100 are pension scheme members.
Unite calculates that under the defined contribution scheme from next April, based on the vagaries of the stock market, staff will lose about 30 per cent of their retirement income going forward – thousands of pounds a year. The defined contribution scheme is already in operation for other members of the Post Office’s 7,000-strong workforce
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.