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‘Obscene’ salaries of ScotRail’s executives published for the first time

RMT rejected a new pay offer on Thursday.

ScotRail has published the salaries of its senior management for the first time.

Since nationalisation, the operator is required to disclose the pay of its senior executives – to bring it into line with other non-departmental public bodies.

The RMT union said it believed it had taken ScotRail three months to publish the figures while negotiations over industrial action by its members were ongoing.

In a statement, Transport Scotland said the salaries were “commensurate with market rates”.

ScotRail said its pay is reflective of having to attract and retain individuals with the skills required to lead the operator.

How much are they paid?

  • BBC Scotland said chief operating officer Joanne Maguire earns between £175,000 and £180,000 in her role as ScotRail’s most senior official.
The temporary ScotRail cuts have put travel plans into disarray for thousands. Photograph by Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Ms Maguire is the former vice principal at the University of West of Scotland but the RMT union criticised her lack of previous experience in the rail industry when her new role was announced last December.

  • Interim finance director James Griffin is paid between £170,000 and £175,000.
  • David Lister, who is safety, sustainability and asset director, has a salary in the range of £150,000 to £155,000. Mr Lister is also given £7,500 as part of a car allowance.
  • The operator also confirmed service delivery director David Simpson earns between £135,000 and £140,000 and commercial director Lesley Kane is paid between £130,000 and £135,000. Both are also in receipt of the additional car payment.
  • Interim HR director Marie-Therese Weighton and interim communications director David Ross are both paid between £115,000 and £120,000.

Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH) who oversee ScotRail on behalf of the Scottish Government also published the salaries of its executives.

  • Chief executive Chris Gibb is paid £120,000
  • Finance director David Lowrie is paid £108,000

Both are part-time and are contracted to work three days a week.

Important job

Chris Gibb, SRH chief executive and ScotRail chairman, said: “The senior team across ScotRail and Scottish Rail Holdings do an important job in leading our 5,100-strong team as we recover from the pandemic.

“Pay needs to be set at fair market rates to attract and retain the best talent to do that job.

“We recognise that, as part of the public sector, we must ensure that pay is fair and provides value for taxpayers.

“We will continue to work with government to ensure this happens.”

Transport Scotland said the publication of the salaries followed the operator’s movement into public ownership.

rmt rail strikes
ScotRail has recently been running a temporary timetable.

A spokesman told the BBC: “This transparency is welcome and will be a key feature of how ScotRail will be run as a publicly-owned and controlled operator.

“Ministers have been assured that these salaries are commensurate with market rates for senior leaders at organisations on this size and scale.”We would expect everyone working in Scotland’s Railway to be paid at least the Scottish Living Wage and have made clear the Scottish government’s expectations that fair work is embedded in ScotRail’s culture and working practices.”

Ploy over negotiations

Mick Hogg, the RMT’s regional organiser for Scotland, branded executive pay in the Scottish rail industry as “obscene.”

He said: “A lot of our members are annoyed by the size of these pay packets and feel they far outweigh what they bring to the table and what they have offered our members.
“In my opinion, they deliberately postponed publishing these figures as part of a ploy over negotiations.

“Our members have been portrayed as greedy rail workers looking for a fast buck.

“But it as clear as day as to who the greedy are and it’s the executive teams running Scotland’s rail network.”


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