Royal Mail boss forced to use security escort as strikes turn ugly

The chief executive of Royal Mail chief executive has been forced to use a security escort after violence erupted on strikers’ picket lines.

Simon Thompson is understood to have enlisted security to protect him as he tours Royal Mail sorting offices and other locations.

Mr Thompson said over the summer that he would normally try to accompany postal workers on at least one round a week.

It is understood that his security detail was introduced after a long-running dispute between the Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) turned ugly in the past few weeks.

Police are investigating reports of violence and intimidation by striking staff, such as the alleged headbutting of an employee, as well as claims that workers who crossed picket lines were followed and filmed.

The Royal Mail said earlier this month that there have been more than 100 reported allegations of violence and assault, harassment, intimidation, threatening and highly abusive behaviour, criminal damage and vandalism since the beginning of the CWU industrial action in August.

Some 70 of the allegations involved CWU representatives, the company claimed, and 35 cases have now been reported to the police. A total of 20 CWU representatives have been suspended.

Mr Thompson, the former Ocado and Apple executive who took over as Royal Mail boss in January 2021, has been the target of trade union anger over plans to reform working practices.

Placards with the phrase “Thompson out” have appeared on picket lines up and down the country after around 100,000 postal workers walked out in the biggest dispute since Royal Mail was privatized in 2013.

Opposition MPs rallied behind the CWU on Wednesday during National Postal Workers Day ahead of the union’s latest 48-hour walkout that starts on Dec 23.

Labor’s Peter Dowd, Tulip Siddiq and Afzal Khan were among those to show their support for the striking trade union.

Meanwhile, Daniel Kretinsky, the “Czech sphinx” investor that is Royal Mail’s biggest shareholder, took advantage of its parent company’s low share price by topping up his stake, according to a stock market filing.

Mr Kretinsky’s Vesa Equity increased his stake in the business from 22.1pc to 23.2pc – an additional stake that is worth around £23m.

Royal Mail declined to comment on Mr Thompson’s security detail.


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