Royal Mail plans to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on designer furniture for its new riverside headquarters, it has been claimed.Cutting the numbers of staff who actually do the work in favour of fine furniture for the feather-bedded HQ staff is pretty stupid business policy.
The news comes days after it emerged that the postal service intends to cut thousands of front line jobs, and has been condemned by unions.
But then, the Post Office isn’t really a business, is it? Not yet, anyway:
The shopping list of items approved by Royal Mail bosses includes £100,000 worth of Italian chairs and walnut desks costing £6,000 a piece, according to documents seen by the Daily Mirror newspaper.Well, if you have a prime location with stunning Thames views, a bit of Formica on your desk isn’t going to cut it, is it?
Boardroom seats each costing £700 for the service's senior executives have also been requested, it is claimed.
Around 200 Royal Mail managers and staff will move to the refurbished offices in Unilever House by the River Thames on the Embankment in central London in May. The 30,000ft space will replace the postal service's current headquarters in east London.
Documents sent to potential contractors include requests for high-end furnishings from designers including Davison Highley, Italia and Kusch and Co, the newspaper claims.Ah, so the civil service ‘management’ want to make themselves look like a business, and have assumed that the way to do that is to buy up the office furniture catalogue. They’ve probably ordered cigars, bowler hats and aspidistras in pots too.
Last month the Royal Mail announced a jump in profits to £255 million – more than £900,000 day – for the nine months to the end of December, but the service wants to slash thousands of jobs as part of cost-cutting reforms ahead of its planned part-privatisation.
Dave Ward of the Communication Workers Union said: "It's disgusting that while postmen and women are being forced out of the business, this money is being spent on plush offices."But not surprising, Dave, you’d have to admit.
A Royal Mail spokesman confirmed that it had set aside hundreds of thousands of pounds to pay for new furniture, but said that bosses had not been spared the belt tightening.Time will tell if it’s either of those things…
"We have reduced the size of our HQ team. It's now leaner and more efficient," he said.