Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Sharing the pain, equally of course?

Bailed out Royal Bank of Scotland has handed shares worth £28m to nine of its top executives in the latest round of multimillion pound bonus awards by the high street banks.

The precise scale of the payouts at the loss-making bank, 83% owned by the state through £45bn of taxpayer funds, will become clearer next week when the annual report is published.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: "While most taxpayers continue to suffer during tough economic times the top bankers at RBS - and yesterday at Barclays - celebrate their ludicrous bonuses. While everyone else is worried about paying their household bills, these people are counting their bundles of cash.

The astonishing pay deals still being handed out in the City barely two years after the banking crisis were laid bare by Barclays when it revealed that five of its top managers had shared a payout of £110m.

Bob Diamond, who took the helm in January after more than a decade building the investment banking arm, Barclays Capital. The American-born banker, who has called for the period of remorse for banks to end, received a potential £27m, including a £6.5m bonus for 2010, as well as a £2.25m award of shares which could pay out in the future, and share deals from the past five years that paid out £14m and one from 2007that paid out £5m.

And in terms of performance?

By the end of last year, £100 invested in Barclays shares four years earlier would have generated a loss of £47, while the FTSE 100 index of major shares gained £26 during the same period.

So despite big words by Nick Clegg and Vince Cable and the Silence from Osbourne and Cameron, nothing has changed, the banks and bankers are still untouchable and government will do nothing about it.

Now Cameron is talking about less red tape (code for deregulation and cutting workers rights)the market is to be further unleashed, with less checks and balances for ordinary workers.
In the last week the unite union has reported that Storck, owners of the renowned Bendicks’ mints and Werther's originals have informed Unite that it is considering moving production to east Germany.

Bendicks has been manufacturing chocolate in England since 1930 and is famously British. The company whose factory is based in Winchester and employs 140 staff has begun consulting with the union and the workforce.

Unite regional officer, Ian Woodland, said: "Bendicks and Werther's Originals are famously British. The skilled workforce who have spent years manufacturing high quality confectionary now face an uncertain future.

“Yet again, weak labour laws are working against the interests of the UK. Unite will be doing everything possible to protect jobs in a community where unemployment is already too high."

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