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Royal Mail boss faces MPs after statements ‘may not be entirely correct’

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The Royal Mail boss will be brought before MPs after they accused him of providing information that “may not have been entirely correct”.

Chief executive Simon Thompson has been asked to explain his statements to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee “as soon as possible,” chairman Darren Jones said Tuesday.

After Mr Thompson spoke last week amid a dispute with the company’s union, MPs said they had received hundreds of complaints questioning his claims.

In a letter to Mr. Thompson and his chairman, Mr. Jones said the letters had raised concerns about several statements.

MPs had asked why Royal Mail tracked how fast employees made deliveries using their handheld computers and whether they were being disciplined based on that data.

Mr. Thompson said: “No. I’m not aware of the technology we have that tells people to work faster. I am not aware of that at all.”

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But Mr Jones said his group has “received evidence suggesting this is not correct”.

Mr Thompson also denied that Royal Mail’s policy is to prioritize parcels over letters, something which could be against the rules.

However, Mr Jones said: “Contrary to your evidence, we have been told that managers in many delivery offices are advising Royal Mail deliverers that parcels should still be given priority.”

Posters have appeared at several delivery offices across the country telling staff to prioritize packages, the letters sent to the commission claim.

MPs also have “concerns” about how Royal Mail handles sick pay, Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones said: “Since Mr Thompson appeared before the committee last week we have had significant amounts of evidence suggesting that his answers may not have been entirely correct.

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“Giving incorrect information to a parliamentary committee, whether accidentally or not, is taken very seriously.

“We need to sort out these inconsistencies on behalf of Parliament and intend to do so at this additional hearing.”

Royal Mail said: “We welcome the opportunity to comment further on any points on which the committee seeks clarification, and share the steps we are taking to resolve this dispute and secure the long-term future of Royal Mail for our people and customers.

“As the CWU (Communication Workers Union) launches its third ballot for union action today, we see an increasingly false narrative about our wage and change dispute.

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“This is designed to create fear and uncertainty among our employees as the CWU builds support for further damaging strikes, rather than focusing on reaching a deal to deliver what our customers need and give a raise to our people who have already lost around £1,800. each after 18 days of strikes.”

The CWU said: “In the interests of democracy and public standards, we warmly welcome this decision.

“Politicians who have been instructed by voters to carry out scrutiny work with the utmost knowledge and clarity are deeply concerned about Simon Thompson’s evasive behaviour.

“These concerns are shared by millions of people, who need to know the facts from those who manage the postal services they rely on, and who deserve to be treated with the utmost seriousness.”