24 June 2013
Network Rail bosses have drawn up a new long term bonus plan which could earn them over £10 million over the next three years, the TSSA union revealed today.
The scheme, to be approved at the taxpayer funded firm's agm next month, will pay out up to 100 per cent of annual salaries in 2015 on top of an annual bonus of up to 60% up until 2015.
The biggest winner in the potential 160% double bonus bonanza would be chief executive Sir David Higgins who could see his basic salary of £577,000 leap to over £1.5 million a year in 2015 if he meets all targets.
Calling on the firm's 40 public members to reject the new scheme when they meet in Cardiff on July 18, Manuel Cortes, union general secretary, said:
"It almost defies belief that these managers are planning to turn themselves into millionaires at our expense when they have failed to meet their own punctuality and safety targets over the past two years.
"They must be living on a different planet if they think they should reward themselves for failure on this scale. Have they not even heard of the age of austerity that their passengers have been living through over the past five years?
"Passengers are paying the highest fares in Europe and travelling on the most inefficient network in Europe as a result of fragmentation and privatisation.
"This latest train robbery is a direct slap in the face for them."
He will now be writing to all public members calling on them to vote no when NR put it to the vote next month. He will also write to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin calling on him to oppose the scheme.
The union is campaigning for a parliamentary inquiry into NR's level crossing safety policies following a series of deaths attributed to serious management failings in recent years*.
"These people should be concentrating a running a safe and punctual railway," added the union leader.
"They shouldn't be sitting around a board room in London playing their own version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire."
The five executives could earn annual and long terms bonuses of up to £9.8 million by 2015 before taking into account salary increases over the next three years. Three of them are also to share £900,000 in retention bonuses next year.
Editor's Note: Last month the union wrote to Louise Ellman, chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee, asking for a committee inquiry into NR's level crossing safety policies after a series of avoidable deaths at crossings.
1: NR were fined £450,000 in April over the death of housewife Jane Harding on a level crossing in Herefordshire in 2010. The firm failed to instal an automatic locking gate at the crossing on cost grounds.
2: Teenager Lindsey Inger died on a level crossing in Nottingham last November despite a warning by rail safety experts a year earlier that a fatality would happen unless safety improvements were carried out at the crossing where a grandmother and her eight year old grandson were killed four years earlier.
3: Teenager Katie Littlewood died on a footpath crossing at Bishop's Stortford last year. An inquest in Hatfield in May was told that NR failed to build a bridge over the crossing five years earlier because an internal report calling for it to be built was "lost between departments".