Northern Rock staff receive 10% bonus
Northern Rock, which was nationalised in February of last year, has paid almost all of its 4,500 employees a 10% bonus – an average of £2,000 each.
The bonus fund, which amounts to £8.8 million, has sparked outrage among politicians with Lib-Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable, describing the action as extraordinary since millions of people are facing pay cuts or unemployment.
The lender announced the bonus the same day that the Office for National Statistics revealed that unemployment in the UK reached 1.92 million in the three months to November.
The bonus scheme was offered as an incentive to staff to achieve early repayment of the £27 billion loaned from the taxpayer last year. It has so far repaid £15.4 billion.
Northern Rock was also criticised for being ‘aggressive’ in its repossessions policy.
Northern Rock defended itself and said a borrower experiencing difficulty has been in discussion with the lender for over a year before their home is repossessed.
A spokesperson for Northern Rock confirmed that the 10% bonus is being paid to its staff tomorrow.
Meanwhile Unite, the trade union, defended the bonuses and said staff had worked ‘exceptionally’ hard in difficult circumstances.