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Network Rail bosses face revolt over £500,000 bonuses

19 May 2014

Cancel bonuses after "appalling" treatment of bereaved families

Network Rail bosses are facing a public members revolt over plans to take bonuses of more than £500,000 despite their "appalling" treatment of bereaved families in level crossing accidents, leaked documents revealed today.

The members-who act as shareholders at the taxpayer funded firm-are planning to back calls on Wednesday for the bonuses to be cut after critical safety reports by an influential Commons committee which criticised the firm's "callous disregard" towards the bereaved families, according to the documents leaked to the TSSA rail union.

They are meeting in London to review the bosses bonuses in the light of the Transport Select Committee's Report which was endorsed last Friday by Ministers who back the committee's call for no six figure bonuses to be paid this year to the five executive directors. The Lord Chief Justice also said in January that bonuses should be "significantly reduced".

In a briefing note to his fellow members ahead of the meeting, Peter Skyte, public members coordinator, revealed that he has warned NR chairman Richard Parry Jones, that some members are "expressing the view that there should be a zero bonus for the 2013-14 financial year, given the publicity around level crossing safety, not least following the Wright's Crossing judgement."

If he is backed by his fellow 40 public members on Wednesday, four executives could lose bonuses worth around £200,000 each, made of up 40% of salary as long term bonuses and a further 20% in annual bonus. Three of the executives, Patrick Butcher, finance, Robin Gisby, operations and Simon Kirby, infrastructure, have already been paid "golden handcuff" retention bonuses worth £300,000 last month. Chief executive Mark Carne is not due any bonus at all, only taking over in March.

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes called on the public members to follow the lead of the Transport Committee who called for zero bonus payments after delivering its scathing report in March.

"This will send a clear message to Network Rail that there can be no reward whatsoever when it comes to failure in the all important area of safety"
 

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