Northern Rock’s bonuses trigger row

Northern Rock has triggered a row after revealing it will press ahead with plans to pay the majority of its 4,500 employees a 10% bonus.
HM Treasury approved the bonus scheme last year, to reward progress in repaying the £26.9bn government loan, £15.4bn of which has been repaid so far. Most employees at the nationalised bank are in line for a payment worth 10% of basic pay, is estimated to be worth an average £2,000 per employee.
Senior executives may also be in line for a bonus, however a spokeswoman for the bank stressed this would be dealt with separately by a remuneration committee.
The move has sparked criticism from Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable, who described it as “indefensible” when millions of people are facing job cuts and redundancy. “This is bringing the worst of the City bonus culture into a public body,” he said.
However, trade union Unite defended the pay award, stating that employees have worked extremely hard in difficult circumstances after 1,500 staff were made redundant last year.
Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, said: “The bonus will be welcomed by the staff that have had to endure a very difficult working environment, including a freeze on their normal bonuses and promotions, for some 18 months.”