Potters Bar firm to get bonus just for doing its job

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The Independent Online

The company at the centre of the Potters Bar rail disaster is to be paid a bonus of "hundreds of thousands of pounds" for simply doing its work properly.

The company at the centre of the Potters Bar rail disaster is to be paid a bonus of "hundreds of thousands of pounds" for simply doing its work properly.

Jarvis Rail is among six maintenance companies to receive the handout of taxpayer's money in order to ensure there is no slump in standards.

The state-backed infrastructure organisation Network Rail is paying engineering companies the money as part of its strategy of taking maintenance back "in-house". John Armitt, the chief executive, said there was a significant dip in standards last summer just before it assumed responsibility for work in the Reading area and it was anxious to avoid a repetition elsewhere.

Since then Balfour Beatty, two of whose employees face manslaughter charges over the Hatfield disaster, has received an undisclosed sum for "keeping its eye on the ball" in south-west England. A similar handout was paid to Serco in January and will be paid to Jarvis at the end of the month, according to Network Rail.

Other companies to benefit from the policy will be Carillion, E&W and AMEC.

Iain Coucher, deputy chief executive, said the incentives were "self-financing" because they exceeded the amount Network Rail would have to pay to its customers for breaching performance standards.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT rail union, said: "It beggars belief that huge sums of taxpayers' money can be handed over to privateers simply for doing what they've already been paid to do."

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