City Hall’s LibDems have certainly wasted no time in condemning the pay outs but to be contrary, why shouldn’t staff on one of the world’s largest and most complex transport networks be rewarded for a job well done?
The LibDem press release from which all coverage of the story is likely to stem contains a ‘helpful’ link to Boris’s Telegraph article on bonus payments for bankers, but the 13,000 London Underground workers rewarded with a pretty small £500 each aren’t wide boy bankers responsible for bringing down the global economy.
There are no air-conditioned offices for the majority of LU’s staff who instead get to spend their days on ‘too warm all year round’ stations the rest of us escape from as quickly as possible.
And if individual Metronet staff did their jobs properly while their employer collapsed around them, why then should they not receive the bonuses they were told were available to earn?
Which brings us on to the issue of bonuses for the top tiers at TfL. Anyone could run TfL, but if we want it run well we need to attract and retain people of genuine talent and this requires rewarding them.
In the 80’s and 90’s London’s transport network was shamefully dirty and unreliable. Turning that around is probably Ken Livingstone’s biggest legacy. Doing so meant a clean out of staff and the hiring and promotion of more capable brains.
As tempting as it might be when revenues are falling, we tamper with that legacy at our peril – a return to the poor service of the past would do much harm to London’s status as a place to do business.