The difference in reaction over the Network Rail bonus row between last year and this year. Last year, Philip Hammond railed from the sidelines and was basically ignored by Network Rail [thanks to MatthewDurbin for the correction]. This time, Justine Greening, threatening to turn up to a meeting of the members, seems to have sent Network Rail into a panic. I thought initially it was a bit of a naive gesture on her part, and I’m still not sure she understands the ins and outs of the government’s relationship with Network Rail, but certainly her move elicited a different reaction.
By cancelling their meeting, Network Rail’s directors have shown a lot more nous than last year. They seem to realise what side their bread is buttered on. However, none of this resolves the issue of bonuses, which is a blight on the industry – people on six figure salaries do not need bonuses to do their job properly. NR is not a capiatlist go-getting company dependant on entrepreneurial skills, but a boring utility which needs to do the same things day after day efficiently. In any case, who on earth needs these mega salaries anyway? What on earth do they do with the money once mortgage is paid off, kids schooled and holidays taken?