Days after they were fined for poor punctuality, rail bosses share a bonus bonanza

A queue for trains at Leeds Station
A queue for trains at Leeds Station
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Top bosses at Network Rail are in line for bonuses worth thousands of pounds a year just days after the company was fined £53 million for poor punctuality.

NR’s members, the equivalent of shareholders for a company that is a not-for-dividend firm, have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a new bonus scheme for the top executives.

The scheme replaces, and is less generous than, the old bonus scheme, but chief executive Mark Carne and his fellow top bosses could still get up to 20% of their annual salary in annual bonuses should performance targets be reached.

Mr Carne is currently on a salary of £675,000 a year, so could get as much as £135,000 in bonuses for 2014/15, while group finance director Patrick Butcher, on £412,000, could get £82,400.

The recent fine was imposed by the Office of Rail Regulation and took the form of an ordered payment by NR to the Treasury following failure to meet some punctuality targets.

After MPs investigated deaths at level crossings, House of Commons Transport Committee chairman Louise Ellman called for NR chiefs’ bonuses to be suspended.

Following today’s vote at NR’s annual meeting in Reading, Berkshire, Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA transport union said: “This is a slap in the face to all those bereaved (level cross death) families which the Transport Committee found had been treated with “callous disregard” down the years by NR.

“Mark Carne should have re-set the company’s moral compass by cancelling these bonuses or, better still, donating the money to a rail safety charity.

“We welcome his move to cut back on bonuses in the future but he has missed a golden opportunity to demonstrate in practical terms his genuine commitment to improve level crossing safety on his watch.”