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Post Office bonuses outrage workers

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The British economy's gulf between the haves and have-nots continues to amaze and appal. The latest example comes from the Post Office. It has emerged that senior Post Office executives have been awarded six figure bonuses while sub-postmasters have been denied their 1p a letter sorting bonus.

The 1p perk had been in operation since November, "rewarding" sub-postmasters for dividing first and second class letters. Top executives shared a bonus pot of £15.4 million, but an employment technicality means that sub-postmasters are not treated as staff so are not entitled to bonus payments.

While the government pays lip service to the notion of cracking down on fat cat bonus payments, it is apparent that the practice is rife in the Post Office, an organisation which receives an annual government subsidy of £200 million and so should be answerable to the state. Union general secretary George Thomson of the NFSP, described the situation as "morally reprehensible".

"It is incredible that at a time when money is tight the management can see fit to cut a vital payment to sub-postmasters, whilst paying themselves huge bonuses," Thomson said. "They probably didn't think 11,000 sub-postmasters were worth it and it begs the question: is it about the people doing the jobs on the ground, or those sitting in ivory towers?"

Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells earned £463,000 last year, a salary that included a £173,000 bonus, although the Post Office's performance hardly merited any pats on the back, let alone a 50 percent bonus.

A spokeswoman defended the bonus disparity. "The Post Office has various incentive schemes in place to help us to reward and recognise our people at all levels across the organisation," she said. "This enables us to attract the best people to shape and deliver the success of the Post Office through one of the important phases of its development."

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