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New NR boss gets his snout in the trough

28 February 2011

Commenting on today's FT story, in which David Higgins says he will coninue NR's controversial "double your salary" bonus scheme, TSSA leader Gerry Doherty, said:

"We are disappointed at the speed in which David Higgins has announced that he is willing to get his snout into the bonus trough.

"We are sure that the members of the Transport Select Commitee will share our anger that these unjustified payments are going to be made again at the same time as NR is facing a number of disturbing and, as yet, unanswered questions over its safety record."

He called for the bonuses to be cancelled until after the Office of Rail Regulation has completed its re-opened inquiry into the deaths of two schoolgirls on a level crossing in 2005 amid allegations of a cover up by rail bosses of vital evidence at the subsequent inquest.

NR has also to say how it will deal with a recent report by the RSSB which found an under reporting of accidents because of the culture of fear and bullying among middle managers on the railway.

"We would like to see these safety questions being addressed seriously before Mr Higgins starts talking about paying himself huge bonuses of £600,000 a year like his little lamented predecessor Iain Coucher," added the union leader.

"Mr Higgins has repeated the old line that NR is a private company to justify the huge bonuses. He fails to mention that we the taxpayers fund it almost entirely with £4 billion of our money every year."

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