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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Row over rail bosses' bonuses
Train delays were "disappointing", the company said
Rail chiefs have sparked a "fatcat" pay row after it was revealed they would get hefty payouts despite missing performance targets.

Network Rail failed to meet a train punctuality target of 83% in 2002-3, meaning directors did not get their performance-related bonuses.

Despite this, a number of directors were given administration-linked bonuses under a scheme agreed by Railtrack's administrators.

Unions have condemned the bonuses, some as high as 451,000, as "excessive".

Network Rail's safety and compliance director Chris Leah received the top payout, while chief executive John Armitt got 225,000.

Technical director Richard Middleton received 189,000 and financial director Sebastian Bull got 216,000.

This is another example of carrots at the top and sticks at the bottom, which is no way to run a railway
Mick Rix, Aslef

The not-for-dividend company, which took over the running of Britain's rail infrastructure after the collapse of Railtrack, said if targets for 2003-4 were met, directors could get bonuses to the value of 18% of their salary.

If future targets were hit early, that could rise to 60%, the company said in its annual report.

Railtrack was put into administration in October 2001, and administrator Ernst & Young agreed that bonuses should be paid to directors of its replacement.

Mr Leah's bonus includes a 150,000 "retention" payment and a 300,000 "loyalty" payment.

'Fatcat culture'

Mick Rix, general secretary of the train drivers' union Aslef, said: "In view of the continuing deep problems throughout the railway network, passengers will find this continuation of the fatcat culture which scarred Railtrack utterly incomprehensible.

"Now that Network Rail is a not-for-profit company, the government should ensure that it shakes off the worst excesses of the privatised culture.

"Drivers do not receive a bonus for making sure trains arrive on time - it is part of their job. This is another example of carrots at the top and sticks at the bottom, which is no way to run a railway."

Network Rail chairman Ian McAllister, in his report, said: "We achieved good performance in key areas with a 28% reduction in temporary speed restrictions, the incidence of broken rails fell 17% while signals passed at danger were down 7%.

"The increase in train delays attributable to infrastructure was disappointing and provides a clear focus for the year ahead. We are targeting a 20% improvement over three years.

"We are determined to deliver safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure. Efficiency will be a particular focus in the months ahead - our business plan recognised that costs were unacceptable and unaffordable in the longer term."

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