UK: Row over claims Network Rail bosses could earn £10m in ‘double bonuses’

A row has erupted over claims that 'double bonuses' are being planned for Network Rail bosses

A row has erupted over claims that 'double bonuses' are being planned for Network Rail bosses - Credit: PA

A fresh row over executive pay flared today when a union claimed that Network Rail (NR) bosses have drawn up a new long-term plan which could earn them more than £10 million in “double bonuses” over the next three years.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said the scheme, due to be approved at the firm’s annual meeting next month, will pay out up to 100% of annual salaries on top of an annual bonus of up to 60% until 2015.

NR said its members - the company’s equivalent of shareholders - have been consulted on proposals to put a new long-term incentive scheme in place for its executive directors.

“The new scheme, which is a regulatory licence condition, is proposed to recognise outstanding and exceptional performance over the three years to 2015 and be measured against train performance, savings made for the taxpayer and the successful delivery of congestion-easing projects,” said a statement.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes urged the firm’s public members to reject the scheme when they meet in Cardiff on July 18.

He 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.

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“Passengers are paying the highest fares in Europe and travelling on the most inefficient network in Europe as a result of fragmentation and privatisation.

“The latest train robbery is a slap in the face for them.”

The NR statement added: “Discussions with our stakeholders and feedback from customers highlight their concerns about the cost of operating Britain’s railways and the cost of fares.

“These rank as highly in their minds as the punctuality of the train service. The proposed new long-term incentive scheme addresses these concerns.

“As our recent annual bonus announcement clearly demonstrated, Network Rail senior executives are rewarded only when performance exceeds tough targets which have been discussed with our members through an open and transparent process. If targets are not met, no bonuses are paid.

“The scheme proposal will be formally discussed and voted on at the company’s AGM in July.”

Last month it was announced that Network Rail’s top five directors were getting one-year bonuses worth a total of more than £350,000.

The bonuses would have been higher if more performance targets had been reached but chief executive Sir David Higgins still got £99,000 to go with his annual salary of £577,000.