Royal Mail too confrontational over postal strikes, says ex-boss: Rico Back believes that board has wasted time and ‘not executed properly’

The former chief executive of Royal Mail has criticised the current management’s ‘confrontational’ approach to its industrial dispute with postal workers. 

Rico Back, who was in charge from 2018 to 2020, told The Sunday Times that the board had wasted time and ‘not executed properly’. 

Back said the lack of experience of boss Simon Thompson both in the sector and as a leader of a big firm was a ‘toxic mixture’. 

'Confrontational': Royal Mail is locked in a dispute with the Communication Workers Union resulting in a series of strikes over Christmas

‘Confrontational’: Royal Mail is locked in a dispute with the Communication Workers Union resulting in a series of strikes over Christmas

Royal Mail is locked in a dispute with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) resulting in a series of strikes over Christmas. 

The company, losing £1m a day amid a decline in letter volumes and competition in the parcels sector, is seeking changes to working practices which the CWU is resisting. The union also rejected Royal Mail pay offers. 

Back said: ‘Posties understand the need to change, but it needs to be done in a social, friendly way. The board missed this opportunity and are on a more confrontational path, which is not necessary. 

‘Also, the chief executive has never run a big company and does not have knowledge of logistics… a toxic mixture.’ 

Back left after less than two years amid controversy over his £6m ‘golden hello’ – and his decision to continue to live in Switzerland while boss of Royal Mail. 

Thompson, who has been criticised by unions, was chief product officer at online grocer Ocado and held roles at Morrisons and HSBC.

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