Let's start with an excerpt from the Standard:
"The number of Transport for London staff earning more than £100,000 has soared by 50 per cent in a year.
"TfL's annual accounts, published today as delays hit the Metropolitan line and after another weekend of Tube closures, showed the number of six-figure earners had rocketed from 251 to 379."
And the Unions aren't happy with this. Up pops Bob Crow in the Guardian:
"Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT trade union, said members would not accept warnings of a need for financial austerity if hundreds of senior figures are earning six-figure salaries. "We will take no lectures on pay restraint and job cuts while the top layers of TfL are so clearly awash with cash. It is RMT members who are out there day in and day out delivering the success for the company and we expect them to have both the resources and the rewards that they deserve for transporting growing numbers of people around this city as the clock ticks down towards the London Olympics." "
All this from one annual report.
High pay is certainly a problem - especially in a cash-strapped organisation like TfL. However, if they really want the best talent to run their networks, pulling from a global pool of talent, then high salaries have to be paid. There's no getting around it.
But TfL do seem to be embarrassed by the issue. Also from the same report, covered here in the Sutton Guardian:
"Transport for London is cutting the number of directors posts by 25 per cent as it struggles to reduce costs.
"In recognition of the difficult economic climate, the salaries of senior TfL staff in 2010/11 were also frozen for a second consecutive year, and in addition the Commissioner of Transport, Peter Hendy, and all chief officers declined their performance awards for achievements in 2009/10.
"It is also reducing the number of director level positions by 25 per cent, or 13 posts, as it restructures the organisation."
Would the Unions be happy to see similar measures applied across their more senior staff? It's time for both sides to move on and talk like adults when attempting to set pay up to and beyond the Olympics.