Earlier in the year, a number of Freedom of Information Act requests resulted in a lot of questions about dubious practice in the matter of British Waterway’s Directors’ bonuses, something that is heavily dependent of the meeting of targets but also keeping their customers sweet.
British Waterway’s threats of legal action resulted in the articles being removed from the internet, although the documents containing the evidence found their way to Wikileaks here and here.
Due to the pressure put on them (and perhaps for other reasons as well!) BW have taken the following actions –
- Scrapped the long term incentive plan which would have given executive directors up to 15% on basic salary.
- Pay freeze for directors last year.
- Directors were not paid bonus last year
- Vice chair did not take salary for 2-4 months (now left BW)
- Chair (Tony Hales) not taking salary.
- No more double bubble (directors were rewarding themselves twice over based on similar financial targets).
- Targets will now be published in annual accounts.
- Targets will now be simplified and measurable.
However the problems still remains that directors are grossly overpaid! The chief executive “Christopher” Robin Evans for instance, earns more than the Prime Minister and one and a half times the salary of the chief executive of the National Trust, an organisation with over 10 times the budget of BW.
But it does show that we can make a difference if we put enough pressure on.