Bonus question

It is sometimes remarkable how certain groups of people are unable, or maybe unwilling, to understand their own circumstances and to relate these appropriately to the interests of the society in which they live. In the current economic conditions and in the light of the decisions that have had to be taken to facilitate a recovery of the national economy, this is not the time to be claiming or receiving bonus payments on top of a salary, other than in most exceptional cases. Given that our financial institutions caused most of the problems for which the people as a whole will now have to pay, it is almost beyond belief that employees in these institutions are still in receipt of large bonus payments.

As we achieve a reasonable recovery from our current problems, and if at that point individuals can be identified who made a special contribution to that beyond the call of duty, then maybe a reward would be understandable. But right now it will seem to many taxpayers that they are having to face hardship in order (at least in part) to fund special payments for those who got us into the mess. Of course it is always more complex than that, but right now there is a social reality that employees in the financial institutions simply need to understand and accept. No bonuses should be paid, and any attempt to use the law to enforce payments should be faced down.

For the sake of balance, I should stress that I am not against incentive payments, which can make a valuable contribution to success. We should not allow our current crisis to create opposition to legitimate bonus schemes in the future. But making incentive payments at a time of corporate failure in the banks is madness, and accepting them demonstrates an unwillingness to play a part in our national recovery. This shouldn’t be happening.

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5 Comments on “Bonus question”

  1. Robert Browne Says:

    When 40% of your salary cheque every month comes from borrowed money which is added to the National debt and which must be borrowed at 5.8% over 7.5 years what would you call that?

    I would call it living in denial, sabotaging the national interest, not to mention living on borrowed time. Bankers are an exaggerated version of the same strategy and they too do it because it is “legal”. Bankruptcy will end this. When we have to make out on 30bn what do you think is going to happen?

  2. Vincent Says:

    As much as I’d like to agree with you I find I cannot. When your parents came here they found a State that had a very large group running the place with a profound belief in the place. But when the kids of those ‘mostly’ men having been educated in the best schools entered the professions they realised that their parents were treated like mugs. However rather than do anything about it they joined it with their snouts in the trough.
    Currently we are shaking off the last of that influence in FF. But you hear it now and again in the calls to patriotism.
    In your call to restrain themselves, why just the Bankers. Will the Accountants work at a reduced fee in nama. Has any doctor done an ounce of work that isn’t remunerated as if he she or it are not sitting within a city of 15 million in a catchment. What am I saying those scumbags are being paid Better that a Harley St man and there is 62million there. Then we have the darlings over at the Kings Inns and Blackhall, nothing about the National good in tribunal fees.
    In many blogs, there is comment that people that is younger people are saying that they never voted SF but will do so this time. Not as a protest but saying that they have experience in the North. In reality more than Labour or any of the rest of them. Now I was a bit shocked with this as I would have thought a bit further before I they would be sanitised.
    So, basically why JUST the few bankers. And if only a few bankers what’s the point.
    Actually one of the best things about the IMF was the comment about the Professions.

  3. copernicus Says:

    I disagree with Ferdinand considering the historical position of banks in the Western Society, although I agree with him when he says: “But making incentive payments at a time of corporate failure in the banks is madness, and accepting them demonstrates an unwillingness to play a part in our national recovery. This shouldn’t be happening”.

    I have taught a module called ” professional issues” in software engineering, and have contributed extensively to the ethics of professionals in this area. People often forget the historical reasons why bankers can get away with salaries and bonuses that are outrageously generous, although I hasten to add that most post-92 VCs and their teams are not far behind. This is not post-92 bashing, but emoluments were one major reason why polytechnic directors pushed John Major then the British PM against the objections of many in HE, to rebrand them as universities. The directors of these polytechnics saw their paypackets double within a year. Similar trick was used by GPs recently in England. In one post-92 in London, which does not register anywhere in the UK university league table as its data are pretty pathetic (there are a few elsewhere too but they appear in the table), the disgraced VC who fiddled to make sure the data of drop outs and progression look better, walked away with bonus and pay bundle amounting to a few millions.

    Coming back to bankers, they were the first who were recognised as professionals in Britain ahead of lawyers and certainly ahead of doctors. The founding fathers of America although saw a different political framework for their new country, kept the English/British tradition of treating bankers as a group apart. I have contacts with bankers in German banks, and the situation in Frankfurt, the bankers city is no different.

    In summary, like it or not, we have to lump it.

  4. copernicus Says:

    I thought that I need to explain a bit about Harley Street as we as a family use the services of Harley Street medical specialists who are arguably the best in the country. We have had to save to subscribe to our private medical insurance, as we are not rich and surprisingly the premium for a single person per year costs less than what he would pay as subscription to his favourite premier league FC, and match attendance expenses. We use it as NHS top up.

    These Harley Street medical specialists on an average earn at least a million pounds a year after rent and expenses, and my GP takes home around £250,000 and the NHS hospital consultants about £200,000 if they are A grade specialists, but then some of these hospital consultants in London have practices in Harley street and Wimpole Street next to it, and hence earn more.

    So, atleast in England, Harley Street specialists, the best in the country, earn more than GPs and mundane hospital consultants.

  5. Colum McCaffery Says:

    It might – just might – be acceptable to offer someone some incentive to do some hard or awful job well or quickly. However, if a person – particularly someone privileged with a management or creative job – needs an incentive to perform at his or her best, then he/she is “the wrong stuff” and should be moved to something less demanding ASAP. The “bonus culture” was and unfortunatly still is in too many places, a conspiracy by the well-off to defraud their employers. Moreover, it doesn’t work except to enrich those in on it.

    Speaking of the wrong stuff,

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