On eve of savage cuts to transport budget RMT exposes massive increase in top salaries at private operating companies

On the eve of the government’s expected announcement of savage cuts to the transport budget, specialist transport union RMT has produced new figures showing that at a time when passengers are being warned to expect fare increases of up to 40% over the next four years it’s bonanza time in the boardrooms of Britain’s main private transport operators.

The “UK Transport Rich List” is topped by Keith Ludeman – boss of the Go-Ahead group – who saw his salary rise by an incredible 35% from £916,000 on the June 2009 figures to £1,240,000 in July this year. Ludeman is responsible for the Southern Trains franchise which recently announced it was axing toilets on the key inter-city route between Portsmouth and Brighton.

Hot on his heels are Brian Souter from Stagecoach on £762,000 and David Martin from Arriva on £743,635. Company profits show that the big five UK transport operators have posted combined dividends of more than £2 billion since privatisation.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“We are receiving clear signals that transport is being lined up as a prime target for the ConDem cuts with 25 to 40% expected to be slashed from budgets. At the same time fares are predicted to rise by up to 40% over the next four years.

"Cuts at the expected level will impact on jobs, safety, the range of services available and the price people pay to use them. It would also take a bulldozer to upgrading and modernisation plans leaving the UK in the slow lane yet again when it comes to green transport options.

We are also running the real risk of bus service being wiped out in rural areas.”

"Under this ConDem government the public will be forced to pay through the nose to travel on crowded trains and buses on creaking and unsafe infrastructure while the profits, dividends and top bosses salaries of the private companies are ring-fenced. That is a scandal."

Katy Clark, a member of the RMT parliamentary group and MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, has secured a parliamentary debate on “The Future of the Railway” industry this morning which coincides with the TUC anti-cuts lobby. Katy Clarke said:

“At a time when passengers are about to be clobbered with fare hikes and cuts in services and rail workers jobs are under attack these profits and salaries are obscene.”

“It appears corporate excess is not confined to our banks. I will be using the parliamentary debate to ask the minister to write to the train company directors to urge pay restraint and for the government to agree to a windfall tax on the profits of the privatised rail industry.”