Many employees in the public and private sectors have seen their pay cut or frozen to protect their job. Not so for the top brass at Network Rail: three of the five executive directors at the taxpayer funded monopoly are set to receive £300,000 each next year just to stay in theirs. Despite Network Rail's past performance Patrick Butcher, Robin Gisby and Simon Kirby will split £900,000 of taxpayers’ money between themselves in a ‘golden handcuff’ scheme – presumably designed as an incentive to stop them jumping ship to, er, any of the other state-run monopoly rail networks in this country.
These retention payments are, of course, in addition to other perks. All five executive directors receive six-figure salaries ranging from £350,000 to £580,000; annual performance bonuses of up to 60 per cent of salary; long-term incentive packages worth 100 per cent of salary (due to be paid out in 2015); plus an assortment of other benefits (including generous pensions) that cost the taxpayer over £1 million every year. Nice work if you can get it.
A Network Rail spokesman attempted to justify the payments by arguing that “our best talent was in real danger of being poached by big international firms,” describing Butcher, Gisby and Kirby as “key… to [seeing] through the delivery of our plans.”
But Maria Eagle, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, said it best:
''Senior managers should not demand additional retention payments simply to stay in jobs for which they are already well remunerated.”
This is particularly true when the taxpayer-funded organisation missed performance targets last year.