BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 22 June, 2001, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Corbett pay-off branded 'obscene'
Gerald Corbett
Gerald Corbett: Under fire again
Critics have been calling on ex-Railtrack chief Gerald Corbett to "examine his conscience" after it emerged he received 860,000 as part of a pay-off package.

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Don Foster said it was "rewarding failure on an obscene, grand scale", and suggested Mr Corbett should examine his conscience in the light of the parlous state of Railtrack.

The news on Thursday also provoked harsh criticism from the train driver's union Aslef, which described the payment as "obscene" and called on him to hand it back.


A tiny fraction of his ill-gotten gains spent on re-siting signal 109 would have saved 31 lives

Mick Rix, Aslef
The details of the payments were in Railtrack's annual report, which has come out just days after Lord Cullen's highly critical report into the Paddington Rail disaster.

In his report Lord Cullen said he found it "extraordinary" Mr Corbett had said in 1998 that Paddington was "the best protected major terminal station anywhere in the world".

"It demonstrated either a degree of complacency on the part of senior management or a desire to encourage an undeserved confidence in what Railtrack had actually achieved," Lord Cullen added.

Mr Foster reacted to news of the pay-off by saying: "When it is billions of taxpayers' money that is propping up the ailing and failing Railtrack, the public have every right to express anger and concern.

"Its failure is demonstrated the Ladbroke Grove and Hatfield crashes.

"After asking for yet more government money and then considering paying dividends to shareholders, this is the last straw."

'Farewell package'

Mr Corbett, who became chairman of Woolworths earlier this year, resigned following problems on the network caused by the Hatfield crash.

He received the package - after tax - as part compensation for loss of office (266,000) and partly money owed to him under a pension scheme (594,141).

"This farewell package for Mr Corbett would have been obscene at the best of times, but in the week of publication of Lord Cullen's report it is grotesque," said Mick Rix, general secretary of Aslef.
Flowers on the track
Rail disasters have claimed many lives in recent years

"A tiny fraction of his ill-gotten gains spent on re-siting signal 109 would have saved 31 lives.

"Decency demands that Mr Corbett return this payoff to Railtrack immediately."

One passenger who had been on the Great Western train involved in the crash described the payoff as "disgraceful".

Dictated by his contract

Mr Corbett also benefited from a 12,00 in lieu of provision of a car.

Railtrack said Mr Corbett's compensation and pension were dictated by his original contract with the company.

Mr Corbett endured turbulent times at Railtrack, as UK rail passengers experienced months of chaos after several rail disasters.

He became known as "the man passengers love to hate".

Railtrack still needs to raise 3bn to help maintain the UK rail network and it is expected to plead its case for an additional 2bn of public money from the regulator, the Strategic Rail Authority.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Simon Montague
"Mr Corbett, now chairman of Woolworths, is not commenting on his pay-off"
Don Foster, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesman
"This golden goodbye is in effect going to be paid by taxpayers"
Mick Rix, General secretary for Aslef
"He should hand the money back"

Latest stories

The crash:

The survivors:

Background:

AUDIO VIDEO

FROM THE ARCHIVE
See also:

22 Jun 01 | Business
05 Jun 01 | Business
18 Jun 01 | Business
01 Mar 01 | Business
17 Nov 00 | UK
17 Nov 00 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes