‘Excessive’ bonuses at Lothian Buses to be scrutinised by council
COUNCIL leaders have promised to exert more control over the running of Edinburgh’s main bus companies after it emerged senior executives had landed bumper bonuses.
Transport leader Lesley Hinds has branded the bonuses of between £42,900 and £47,200 paid to four directors as “excessively high”.
Lothian Buses, in which the council has the majority of shares, paid managing director Ian Craig a salary of £159,675 last year, as well as a bonus of £47,200.
His operations director Bill Campbell was paid £145,159, while he also received a bonus of £42,900. Engineering director Bill Devlin collects £145,000, which rises to £190,300 after bonus. Finance director Norman Strachan receives £144,400, rising to £188,600 with bonus payments.
Even before bonuses the four earned higher salaries than both Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond.
Cllr Hinds said the local authority was likely to have more of a say in how Lothian Buses was run, the level of payments and bonuses for senior staff, and the make-up of its board, in future.
She said the forthcoming review would also look at how the bus firm should be properly integrated with the city’s tram project, which is due to start running in the summer of 2014.
Lothian Buses, which made a profit of £13 million in 2010, is the UK’s city bus tour operator of the year, while its tours are the second most popular paid-for attraction in the country.
Mr Craig has come under fire just weeks after picking up the outstanding contribution to local transport at the Scottish Transport Awards.
The council published the bonus figures earlier this week as part of a report which also revealed for the first time the secret pay-offs to senior directors who worked on the tram project.
Cllr Hinds said she was “amazed” at the level of bonuses being paid out to directors, adding: “I have never heard of anything like it.”
Union leaders said they were against having an “executive bonus culture” in public services like Lothian Buses.
However Cllr Hinds stopped short of calling for the firm’s bonuses to be scrapped.
She said: “I think people will be surprised at how much these bonuses are compared to the salaries of these staff. I was amazed and I think they are excessively high.”
Pat Rafferty, Scottish secretary of the Unite union, said: “These directors are already remunerated handsomely and there should be no place for an executive bonus culture in public services.
“The size of these bonuses is neither right nor fair.Labour MSP Sarah Boyack added: “When only those at the top get financial bonuses, people are bound to ask about fairness for the rest of the employees who have been working hard to make the company a success.”
However, Mr Craig defended the pay outs. “Directors are remunerated fairly and in line with their roles and responsibilities. The board independently sets directors’ salaries, and any bonuses paid are performance-related.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West