The chief executive of Royal Mail is facing demands to return to the UK after it was revealed that he is spending his quarantine in a Swiss penthouse, the Daily Mail reports.
German millionaire, Rico Back, has been running the formerly-public delivery company remotely from his family home overlooking Lake Zurich, worth £2.3 million, amid the introduction of a national lockdown by the British government.
The 66-year old, who has been dubbed 'the Flying Postman' due to his constant commutes to the UK, is now facing calls to cut his pay after Royal Mail investors (which include most company employees) saw dividends cut to conserve funds, as the 504-year-old firm faces pressure amid the economic downturn.
Operating chief, Achim Dunnwald, has also been working from his home in Germany while Royal Mail postal workers and staff continue working to ensure the delivery of mail for the quarantined nation.
"This is truly a case of lions being led by a donkey", said Cliff Weight, director of ShareSov, a campaign organisation for small shareholders.
"Why should shareholders buy shares in a company run by a board and chief executive like this, who keep getting themselves into such a pickle?", he added.
A union chief has demanded that Back either return to the UK or step down, following contentions over protective equipment for posties and a restructuring of the company to keep workers safe on the job.
"The UK is gripped by the coronavirus crisis. Postal workers are keeping our communities connected", said Communication Workers Union General Secretary Dave Ward.
"By any measure, it is not acceptable for the chief executive of the UK postal service to live and work abroad – at this, or frankly any other time", he said.
The CWU issued demands to the government at the end of March, including a drastic reduction of mail deliveries and a closure of branches which put workers at risk.
Ward called for the service to cease functioning “as a commercial operation" and instead operate as a vital national service, as the government considers the postal employees to be key workers.
“All unaddressed advertising mail should be immediately suspended", he said.
“In conjunction with the government we should look to maximise the opportunity for Royal Mail’s unrivalled infrastructure to be utilised in helping the country deal with the coronavirus crisis".
A Royal Mail spokesperson said that Back is "completely focused on our priorities" during the coronavirus crisis and is dedicated to protecting postal workers, the country, and the company.
"Rico is devoting all his time to the continued delivery of these objectives. This includes government advice to work from home unless you absolutely cannot", she said.
The German multimillionaire took over as the head of the British postal service in June 2018 from Moya Greene, the executive of the corporation who oversaw the services' privatisation by the coalition government in 2013.