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Network Rail faces largest ever equal pay claim

16 July 2014

Male bosses bonuses pass £1 million plus barrier

The TSSA rail union has launched a multi million pound equal pay claim against Network Rail, the largest in rail history.

It was announced as NR's senior male executives confirmed their bonuses had passed the £1 million barrier last year thanks to bonuses as high as £350,000 at the taxpayer funded firm. They are due a further £400,000 in long term bonuses in the coming months.

The union has launched a pathfinder claim covering 30 female managers who are being paid between £3,000 and £4,000 a year less than their male colleagues doing the same job.

And if it succeeds, there are another 3,000 female managers who will also be in line for big pay rises to bring them into line with the men. The final bill could be over £10 million a year if the union wins it battle at the Leeds Employment Tribunal in the autumn.

Lorraine Ward, union assistant general secretary, will lead a lobby at  NR's annual general meeting in Reading on Friday when the controversial bonuses * have to be voted on by the public members.

The bonuses have been paid despite NR missing its main punctuality targets last year and being heavily criticised by the Commons Transport Select Committee for its "callous disregard" of bereaved families whose relatives have died on unsafe level crossings.

She said: "It is simply outrageous that a tax payer funded firm should reward those at the top with such huge amounts while at the same time discriminating against thousands of their own staff who happen to be women.

"As a soon to be fully public sector firm, it should reward everyone the same regardless of gender. Perhaps the male bosses just don't get the full picture sitting in their comfortable men-only first class gravy train".
The union lobby will urge the public members, who act as a shareholders, to back its equal pay campaign.
Editor's note:* NR's executives pay last year: Patrick Butcher, finance, £922,000; Robin Gisby, operations, £880,000, Simon Kirby, ex infrastructure, £890,000; Sir David Higgins, ex chief executive £790,000 and Paul Plummer, strategy, £567,000.
Butcher, Gisby and Kirby each received a £300,000 retention bonuses in April on top of their annual bonuses of £51,000.
 £48,000 and £48,000 respectively.

** Butcher, Gisby and Kirby will also be paid a further long term bonus of £112,000, £106,000, and £106,000 in the coming months if the ORR sign it off. Paul Plummer, strategy director, will also get a long term bonus of £99,000 under the same deal.

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