Northern Rock triggered a political row last night when it revealed that it was preparing to pay about £9 million in staff bonuses.
The nationalised bank confirmed that almost all its 4,500 employees would receive bonuses worth 10 per cent of annual pay tomorrow. For an average employee, that will amount to about £2,000.
Now, there are a couple of things that annoy me about this. The first is that I thought that we had all agreed that the "bonus culture" was a bad thing? Was the government not condemning it? Indeed, they were essentially laying all the ills of the banking crisis at the feet of said culture.
The second thing that pisses me right off is that, in return for government loans, most banks were stopped from paying any dividends to shareholders. So, now that Northern Rock is paying what are, effectively, dividends to its employees, will it also be paying dividends to shareholders? In fact, will the government be lifting the ban on dividends entirely?*
But it is this utterly hysterical defence of this bonus scheme that gripped my shit. [Emphasis mine.]
Unite, the trade union, defended the payments. “Staff at the bank have worked exceptionally hard in extremely difficult circumstances. They have experienced the loss of friends and colleagues through compulsory redundancy yet have continued working solidly,” it said.
What? That phrasing—"experienced the loss of friends"—that I find a bit insane: it's not like these people are dead, for fuck's sake. Perhaps I should send cards to Northern Rock employees reading "so sorry for your loss".
And these people should be congratulated and rewarded for the fact that, despite their tragic loss, they "have continued working solidly"? Seriously, what the fuck?
Seriously how out of date are Unite (don't answer that)? The reason that Northern Rock employees have carried on "working solidly" is because, if they did not, it would have been them who would have been made redundant.
You see, Unite, that's what happens in the private sector when you are lazy, incompetent and generally shit at your job: you get fired. Now, I know that you union cunts are used to dealing with the public sector but surely you must understand that the rest of the economy—the productive part of it—doesn't work in quite the same way?
* I only ask because I would like to see some return on my now-near-worthless RBS shares. I bought the shares with some of the large profit that I made from Apple, so easy-come, easy-go, I suppose. Even so, it's a little irritating to see £5k reduced to about £100...