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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Railtrack bonuses rile unions
Richard Middleton
Richard Middleton: Set to receive 100,000
The rail industry is poised for further unrest over pay, after administrators for Railtrack confirmed that managers at the failed signal and track firm would receive bonuses.


It's astonishing to see such high loyalty bonuses paid out when the railway has been run so disgracefully

Bob Crow
RMT Union
Administrators Ernst & Young said that 435 Railtrack staff would on Friday receive the first half of loyalty awards given in a 6.7m ($10.4m) bonus package.

The bonuses were proposed to encourage "vital" employees to remain at Railtrack, and help it through a reorganisation following its collapse on 7 October last year, Ernst & Young said.

"The scheme was put in place to help administrators fulfil their initial objective - to ensure that the railways continue to run," an E&Y spokesman told BBC News Online.

"It has been successful in doing that."

Growing disquiet

But the award of bonuses to just a fraction of Railtrack's 12,000 staff has angered union leaders.

"It's astonishing to see such high loyalty bonuses paid out when the railway has been run so disgracefully," said Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, who is attending the TUC conference in Blackpool.

"Of course, we will take this into account when we put in our pay claim on behalf of Railtrack workers later this year."

The comment comes amid growing disquiet in many sectors over pay levels.

First North Western services are being hit by a 48-hour strike by members of train drivers' union Aslef, which is threatening to disrupt national services if a firefighters' strike prompts safety concerns.

Bonus winners

Beneficiaries of the Railtrack bonus scheme, which is due to pay out a further tranche before the end of March, are believed to include Richard Middleton, engineering director, whose responsibilities included the upgrading of the West Coast main line.

Cost overruns associated with the project have been blamed by some observers for causing Railtrack's collapse.

Mr Middleton, who is expected to receive a 100,000 bonus, was reported by the Financial Times to have left Railtrack last week after failing to find a job at Network Rail.

Network Rail will take over responsibility for track, signals and stations as soon as Railtrack plc comes out of administration, a move expected early next month.

Staff believed to be being transferred to the new company include chief executive John Armitt and his deputy Iain Coucher.


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10 Sep 02 | England
23 Aug 02 | Business
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