Royal Mail boss called back to parliament after allegations of giving ‘not wholly correct’ answers
Simon Thompson, chief executive of Royal Mail, has been recalled to parliament after facing allegations that he gave innaccurate information to MPs during a Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee last week.
The Committee, which took place last Tuesday to discuss Royal Mail’s operations, prompted a “significant amount” of Royal Mail employees across the UK to submit evidence contrary to Thompson’s answers.
In a damning letter published today, Committee chair Darren Jones ordered Thompson to return for another hearing to provide further evidence.
Commenting on what triggered the recall, Jones said BEIS received “significant quantities of evidence that suggest his answers may not have been wholly correct”.
“Giving inaccurate information to a Parliamentary Committee, whether by accident or otherwise, is taken very seriously,” he said.
“We must get to the bottom of these inconsistencies on behalf of parliament and intend to do so during this additional hearing.”
The BEIS Committee challenged Thompson on several matters that he denies regarding allegations that the Postal Digital Assistant system is used to unfairly track and pressurise employees and that Royal Mail prioritises parcels over letters.
According to the letter, Thompson said during the Committee that he was “not aware of technology we have in place that tells people to work more quickly. I am not aware of that at all”.
BEIS claims it has received evidence suggesting this statement is incorrect.
Jones’ letter also drew attention to a poster which instructed delivery office employees to prioritise parcels.
Thompson refuted the idea, saying letters were equally important and the poster was “dealt with”, however Royal Mail employees who came forwards argued the poster was “not a one-off and that similar posters appeared in other delivery offices across the country”.
The BEIS Committee also has concerns surrounding Thompson’s comments on employee sick pay arrangements.
Royal Mail chairman Keith Williams, who was CC’d into the letter, is invited to be present with Thompson on the day of the next hearing.
The beleaguered postal service remains under stress as it continues to battle months of extended industrial action, which have seen staff walk out over disputes of pay and conditions.
In December the strikes wreaked havoc across the UK as the lack of workers disrupted Christmas deliveries. Royal Mail said the company was losing £1m a day and the business had to fight for survival.
City A.M. has approached Royal Mail for comment.