Pay campaigners welcome move to scrap payments of up to £1.4m after Christmas meltdown
Last modified on Sun 27 Jun 2021 08.47 EDT
Royal Mail has blocked planned bonuses and share awards to senior executives worth £1.4m, as a result of its December service meltdown that resulted in thousands of undelivered Christmas presents.
The postal firm said it had taken the decision after considering the impact of service failures and its “slower than planned” modernisation.
In December, Royal Mail’s service – described at the time as a “strategic nightmare” – went into meltdown in many areas and led to parcels piling up in depots and weeks of delays.
One borough in east London went for more than a month without post during the festive period. Royal Mail had already angered customers earlier in the pandemic after Covid-related absences resulted in missed deliveries.
As a result of last year’s chaos, Royal Mail has now said the former interim chief executive Stuart Simpson will miss out on rewards worth just over £1m. He was in line to receive a bonus of up to £570,000 and will not receive shares worth £450,000.
Mick Jeavons, who was interim finance chief before being made group chief financial officer in January, will not receive a £141,000 bonus for last year. He will also miss out on shares worth up to £260,000 under Royal Mail’s 2018 share incentive plan.
Pay campaigners welcomed the news. Remuneration committees and shareholders are often accused of waving through large bonuses to executives regardless of a company’s performance.
Andrew Speke of the High Pay Centre said: “Royal Mail’s decision not to award bonuses to its directors should be welcomed, to the extent that it shows the board are considering factors beyond profit margins when assessing performance such as customer experience.”
The company’s profit quadrupled to £702m in the year to March 2021, aided by the online boom, while government contracts to deliver and collect Covid testing kits and vaccination letters boosted revenues.
Despite not receiving his bonus, Simpson received £462,000 during his last year with the firm, Royal Mail’s annual report showed. He will still be paid £375,000 in this calendar year as part of his termination agreement and retains share awards originally worth £1.2m.
A spokeswoman for Royal Mail said: “We paid no 2020-21 annual bonuses to Royal Mail executive board members and other senior managers. The decision not to award bonuses took several factors into account, including the pace of transformation at Royal Mail being slower than planned and quality of service.
“We are making one-off recognition payments to frontline managers and other colleagues totalling £25m to recognise their exceptional contribution over the year.”
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