Royal Mail bonuses smack of private sector excess

2nd August 2013

Moya Greene’s package 72 times the average pay of a postal worker
Additional bonus due of £488,000
CWU calls for alternative business model to tackle excess

Responding to the publication of remuneration details for Royal Mail executives today (Friday), the Communication Workers Union criticises the company paying £1.47 million to Chief Executive Moya Greene as “imitating private sector excess”.

The report published today shows that Moya Greene took home a total of £1.47m for 2012-13, up more than a third from the previous year when she took home £1.1m. This is 72 times the average wage of postal workers. The report also shows on page 53 that Moya Greene is due an additional £488,000 payment from her long-term scheme in respect of the 2012/13 results. This is a further 24 times a delivery postman or woman’s wage taking her total payment for that year to almost 100 times the average postal worker’s pay.

Moya Greene and senior executives Mark Higson and Matthew Lester all receive a cash supplement equivalent to 40% of their salary in lieu of pensions. This is at the same time that the company wants to make changes to postal workers’ pensions.

The 12 Royal Mail executive directors shared pay and packages totalling £3,753,000 last year.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “Ordinary postal workers will be appalled at this excessive, inflation-busting increase in bonuses for Moya Greene. It appears the company is adopting early the private sector penchant for higher prices and massive executive pay and bonuses.

“This executive pay and bonus excess wouldn’t happen under our alternative business model, which we believe needs to be looked at more urgently than ever. Excessive executive pay would get worse under privatisation, not better, so we want to see healthy alternatives which keep the company in public ownership. Making Royal Mail a ‘not for dividend’ company where profits are reinvested back into services would be a better model than old-fashioned privatisation which has lead to soaring prices in other industries.

“These pay and bonus figures make Royal Mail’s below-inflation pay offer look even more insulting than it was originally. The management are clearly out of touch with not only their own workforce but also with public opinion. Front-line workers are being squeezed everywhere with inflation and living costs overtaking the value of their pay. But those in the ivory towers of board level continue to award themselves eye-watering sums of cash. Government should act to curb this blatant hypocrisy on pay.”

Alternative business model

CWU believes an alternative to privatisation must be considered by government. At this week’s CWU policy forum, CWU reps agreed the following principles for an alternative model:

The Royal Mail Group should be a ‘not for dividend company’ with profits reinvested back into services and the workforce. It would operate for public good, balancing its social obligations with commercial opportunities.
The company would be able to access capital by borrowing on the commercial markets without this contributing to Government debt. Network Rail is a perfect example of this. By creating a new Board structure it has been able to borrow over £27 billion in recent years. A fully modernised Royal Mail with proper employee alignment will also be able to self finance some of its own investment. Neither the Government nor the company can put forward any rational argument as to why this type of structure could not access capital.
There would be a company charter set out in legislation that would confirm Royal Mail as the USO provider and act as a locking mechanism against any further attempts to alter the structure of the company. The charter would set out a list of ethical principles and values that the company would be bound by, including its approach to employee and industrial relations.
There would be an overhaul of the governance structure and the main Board representatives would be balanced between appointees with social, commercial and ethical responsibilities. The Unions could nominate a small number of Board members, but not from within their organisations.
The company would implement the High Pay Commission recommendations with a fixed pay differential between what Board members, Senior managers and the workforce earn.
The company would operate single status benefits from the top to the bottom. Incentive schemes would relate to a fixed percentage of people’s overall salary.

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