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Bosses at rail operator FirstGroup return to full salaries

FirstGroup bosses are back on full salaries – despite a collapse in passenger numbers and an industry bailout

Bosses at rail operator FirstGroup have returned to full salaries after taking a pandemic pay cut despite a collapse in train passenger numbers and the Government’s bailout of the industry.

In a move which is bound to anger commuters, executives at FirstGroup – which runs Great Western Railway and Avanti West Coast trains – quietly hiked their pay in August after taking a 20 per cent cut in March. 

The company’s chief executive Matthew Gregory, who is paid £635,000 a year, and the other chiefs will not be receiving a bonus this year. 

Full salaries: Executives at FirstGroup quietly hiked their pay in August after taking a 20 per cent cut in March

The move is in contrast to directors at rivals Go Ahead and Stagecoach. Bosses at the former are on a 20 per cent salary cut while executives at Stagecoach took a 50 per cent cut in March, although this was reduced to 20per cent in July. 

The Government is spending a total of about £12billion to keep train services running into 2022 after scrapping the franchising system earlier this year. 

FirstGroup put 6,000 of its 35,000 UK employees on furlough, but has now brought nearly all of them back into the workforce. Sources said ‘fewer than 100’ redundancies had been made. 

The shares have dived 59 per cent so far this year as commuters worked from home. 

Meanwhile, Chris Davies, acting chief executive of bus operator National Express, has seen his £369,000 salary return after a four-month cut of 20 per cent.