Leader: ‘Let’s hope obscene bus pay will end’

Lothian Buses had a high-profile boardroom battle.
Lothian Buses had a high-profile boardroom battle.
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lothian Buses chiefs must have thought the controversy over salaries and bonus payments was behind them after the high-profile boardroom battle.

Today’s news that Bill Devlin and Norman Strachan are set to be handed a total of £270,000 worth of payments for three years will therefore infuriate not just the council but city residents in general.

For a taxpayer-owned company, these payments - bringing each of their salaries to more than that of the Prime Minister or First Minister Nicola Sturgeon - simply cannot be justified.

They were originally told that they would not be getting the money as they worked their notice and the bus company looked forward to a new beginning under a fresh regime.

The threat of legal action appears to have led to a spectacular U-turn.

We accept the firm itself is in an impossible position.

Pay up or face the prospect of an even more damaging employment tribunal and those at the company now cannot be held responsible for the gold-plated contracts of the past.

But that doesn’t make this any easier to swallow.

A council source today sums up the dismay to us by pointing out that this money could instead have been invested in the company or gone back into council coffers to help pay for services.

We can only hope that this now draws a line under the gravy train accusations at Annandale Street.

Everyone accepts that to attract the best people to run an award-winning company, relied upon by millions of passengers every year, top salaries have to be paid.

But the pay cheques of those at the top of Lothian Buses have been frankly obscene in the past.

It’s time for the company to get back to what it is good at - winning awards for being the best in the business instead of hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons.