Bus drivers get 2% raise as boss pockets £265k

Lothian Buses' Ian Craig has pocketed a 26% pay rise. Picture: TSPL
Lothian Buses' Ian Craig has pocketed a 26% pay rise. Picture: TSPL
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A MASSIVE pay rise for Lothian Buses boss Ian Craig today prompted an outcry over “fat cat” salaries.

The chief executive of the Capital’s biggest bus operator saw his pay increase by 26 per cent to £265,000 last year.

The pay package included a basic salary of £183,000 and a 40 per cent bonus of £80,000 for hitting performance targets.

The deal contrasts with a two-year deal for Lothian Buses’ drivers, signed recently, giving them a rise of around two per cent, roughly in line with inflation.

Pat Rafferty, Scottish secretary of the Unite union, which represents bus staff, said: “The drivers’ deal pales into insignificance when you look at Ian Craig’s increase and his 40 per cent bonus. It’s just evidence that the fat cat bonus system is still in place.

“We know Lothian Buses is a commercial operation, but it is still in public ownership and when we have all the austerity cuts and people are paying the price, some of them with a wage freeze, this kind of rise for chief executives is absolutely ridiculous and a scandal.”

Edinburgh City Council, which is the majority shareholder in Lothian Buses, is also unhappy about the size of Mr Craig’s increase.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “The chief executive of the council will be raising our disquiet. We are looking closely at how Lothian Buses operate, as the council is the major shareholder and they are accountable to the public for their decisions.”

Last month, Lothian Buses came under fire for refusing to reveal Mr Craig’s latest pay package after he was promoted from managing director to chief executive of the company in recognition of the additional responsibility of running trams.

Tory councillor Jason Rust tabled a motion voicing concern about lack of transparency and demanding his remuneration be revealed. Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie said the company’s refusal to reveal the details was “a PR disaster”.

Today Lothian Buses chairman Chris Walton defended Mr Craig’s pay rise, saying it was based on the scale of his job. He said comparing Mr Craig’s salary to that of the First Minister or the public sector was like “apples and pears”, with a more relevant comparison being other profit-making companies.

The salary details are included in Lothian Buses 2012 annual report, which showed net profits fell from £8.9m to £8.2m, with passenger numbers unchanged at 111 million.