Fears are growing that the Royal Mail is seeking to cut managers' wages as part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the state-owned postal service.
Proposed new pay scales have been distributed to managers that appear to show a reduction in salaries. It is part of a wider programme aimed at shaking up the management structure, but some are concerned that it could leave workers out of pocket. "It's like taking a sledgehammer to something," commented one insider.
Brian Scott, from the union Amicus, said: "We wouldn't accept our members being offered less money and we have an agreement in place that should protect people's salaries."
He added that he was seeking talks with the company following the circulation of the proposed pay scales. "I'm not happy," said Mr Scott.
A company spokesman commented: "As part of making Royal Mail competitive and consumer facing, we're trailing changes to some management roles and we're involving the unions with this."
The Royal Mail, striving to become more competitive, is already facing a run-in with unions over proposals to make managers reapply for their jobs.
However, under its chief executive, Adam Crozier, and chairman, Allan Leighton, the Royal Mail has been steered back into profit without too many confrontations with staff, despite 30,000 jobs being axed. Other major shake-ups have included the second post being scrapped and the introduction of a new way of charging for mail.
But with the postal market opening up to full competition earlier this year, the Royal Mail is continuing to cut costs as it strives to ensure it is able to compete when rivals come into the market.
The service is also bogged down with a £5.6bn pension deficit, and the Communication Workers Union is unhappy with proposals by Mr Leighton to offer shares in the company to staff.Reuse content