Members of a House of Commons select committee interrogated Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson on whether postal workers are followed during their rounds and whether that information is used to reprimand personnel or drive them to work more quickly.
Thompson has had to answer questions from the parliamentary committee twice in as many months after MPs felt his last appearance did not result in “wholly right” replies.
Jones presented a series of photographs that, in his opinion, showed Royal Mail was monitoring its employees’ performance. One of these pictures was a performance chart with the slowest postal workers marked with a scribbled notation that said, “don’t get caught.”
Following this, Jones said: “I take your point that in real time, it might not be buzzing saying ‘run more quickly’. But I think it’s quite clear based on the evidence that you are using technology to encourage people to be more quick and to rank them against their colleagues about who is and isn’t the quickest at delivering their letters.
“And we’ve had written testimony from postal workers across the whole country. So far today, you’ve said there have been a number of rogue delivery offices. But I have testimony literally covering the whole country. There’s someone here from Nottinghamshire – ‘I’d like to advise that information recorded on the PDA devices is 100% being used to discipline staff and we’re being pulled into the office daily.’ I’ve got a message here from a delivery office manager who says ‘PDA data’s available to all management levels and is used to discuss postie performance. Managers down the ladder are questioned whether performances have been challenged, names are requested to ensure challenges are progressed through conduct if repeated.’
“I could go on and on. It seems everyone in the business assumes you use this technology to track the speed of your workers, to enforce performance, and in some circumstances to discipline workers. Are you really telling us today Mr Thompson that’s not true?”
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