NatWest chiefs get huge rises as staff are cut

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The Independent Online
DIRECTORS of National Westminster Bank have received bumper pay rises at a time when the bank is trying to freeze employee pay and cut more staff than any of its rivals.

Main board directors were awarded increases of up to 40 per cent on 1 April and received generous share option packages last year.

The Banking Insurance and Finance Union (BIFU) has taken the bank to the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to try and get a 4 per cent across-the-board pay rise. The bank favours performance-related pay, which would mean some staff receiving nothing.

NatWest also plans to cut 4,200 of its 91,400 staff this year.

Dr John Owen, chief executive of NatWest Markets, the stockbroking business, saw his pay climb around 40 per cent from pounds 215,000 to pounds 300,000.

John Melbourn, a deputy group chief executive, also got 40 per cent more. But his rise from pounds 207,000 to pounds 290,000 accompanied his promotion from chief executive, group risk.

Derek Wanless, the group chief executive, is on the highest basic salary. His pay has risen from pounds 267,000 to pounds 350,000.

Last year's highest paid director, Richard Goeltz, group chief financial officer, got a rise in basic pay from pounds 200,000 to pounds 250,000. He was paid a total of pounds 554,238 in 1993, including a performance-related bonus of pounds 72,739 and pounds 242,170 to cover the costs of moving from New York to London.

These pay rises follow substantial share options issued in September 1993. Mr Wanless was granted options to buy 114,115 shares at 503p between September 1996 and August 2003. National Westminster's shares closed at 442p on Friday.

A BIFU spokesman, who also attacked top pay at Barclays, said: 'There are double standards at NatWest, with increasing rewards for a few at the top and a difficult life for those at the bottom.

'We are talking about a very small world that is concerned only with the markets and the shareholders. It shows scant regard for staff and customers.' NatWest declined to comment.

(Photograph omitted)