Northern Rock bonus payouts welcomed by Unite

Unite has welcomed Northern Rock’s decision to pay out staff bonuses despite the fact that the mortgage lender failed to make a profit last year.

The bank’s chief executive Gary Hoffman defended paying out rewards to 32 staff, saying the company was about £500m ahead of the targets set for turning the bank around.

A Northern Rock spokeswoman said the bonus pool covered the entire workforce of 4,500 staff, and the average bonus is less than £3,000.

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor supported the move.

“It should be remembered that those we represent are among some of the lowest paid workers in the finance industry.

“These modest bonus payments allow them to make ends meet and pay their household bills, not to buy second homes or Ferraris, as is the case with bonuses for traders in the City of London.”

Hoffman declined to take his bonus of £700,000, echoing the decisions of Lloyds chief executive Eric Daniels, Barclays chief executive John Varley and president Bob Diamond and the Royal Bank of Scotland’s chief executive Stephen Hester.

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