Three Network Rail bosses, who already earn salaries between £360,000 and £560,000, will receive £300,000 each in “golden handcuff” payments to keep them at the company.
The Evening Standard reports:
News of the bonuses sparked outcry today, three weeks after the company was condemned by the controlling Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for having missed many punctuality targets last year.
Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA transport union, who leaked a Network Rail letter setting out the bonus payments, said:
“These people must be living on Planet Zog if they do not understand the public’s outrage over unjustified bonuses.”
In February, Sir David Higgins – who is expected to collect a £340,000 bonus – and five of his senior bosses, waived their bonus payments a-d decided to rethink a future remuneration scheme, a decision that Ms Greening said was “sensible and welcome”.
Network Rail argues that it has made huge improvements to the national network and needs to protect its senior staff from being poached by rival engineering companies or other countries.
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle responded:
“Passengers facing annual fare rises of up to 11 per cent will be staggered that our rail industry could be so out of touch and doesn’t recognise how times have changed. This is yet another example of why the debate that has begun over the future of the rail industry is so necessary. Passengers expect Network Rail to be focussing on improving train punctuality not obsessing with their already sizeable pay packets.
“It’s clear that the taxpayer funded Network Rail has learnt nothing from the public outcry the last time they attempted to get away with approving massive bonus payments to senior managers.”
Only yesterday, Left Foot Forward reported the possibility of a future Labour government renationalising the railways:
Labour’s ongoing policy review will consider proposals, contained in a union-backed report published today, to return Britain’s railways to public ownership. Rebuilding Rail, produced by the think tank Transport for Quality of Life, outlines a comprehensive plan for renationalisation nearly twenty years after the Major government began to sell off elements of British Rail in 1993.
The privatisation of the railways has meant two decades of fiscal cataclysm, grotesquely inflated fares and repeated failures to deliver an adequate service.
If Labour are serious about adopting Rebuilding Rail’s proposals as policy, it’ll be a serious bid for millions of commuter votes nationwide.
News like today’s announcement of obscene bonuses for the already rich Network Rail fat cats makes the case for change stronger by the day.