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GTR boss earns almost £500,000 in 2016 despite terrible year for Southern

Southern rail boss and CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) Charles Horton was paid almost half a million pounds in 2016, despite over a year’s worth of commuter chaos caused by the ongoing industrial dispute with the unions over DOO and Southern’s parent company recording a record profit dip earlier in the year. 

Accounts released today have shown that Horton walked away with £478,000 from GTR in the last financial year. He also earned an additional £17,000 from Southern Railway Limited.

This is despite the Go-Ahead group, the parent company behind GTR, logging poor financial figures, as RTM reported in February that the company announced a 35% dip in profits in the latter half of 2016.

In fact, GTR were found to perfrom so poorly that the company was found to be responsible for 86% of the national decline in rail performance for period 11 at the start of the year.

The CEO of Go-Ahead David Brown stated that the reduction in profits could be mainly attributed to the “challenges” GTR had been dealing with over the year.

It also comes after RTM reported that GTR had seen a threefold increase to complaints against them in Q3 of 2016-17, going up by a huge 347.1%.

A spokesperson for the group said that: “As a matter of policy we do not discuss the remuneration of any of our employees.”

Horton’s large pay packet also comes in the midst of a bitter dispute over driver-only operated trains between rail unions and operator Southern.

Most recently, RMT went on strike on Saturday 8 April, although Southern announced that it was still able to run 95% of services as 55% of conductors and on-board supervisors (OBS) reported for work – the highest number since the strikes began.

A Southern spokesperson said: “Whether heading to the seaside on the hottest day of the year or shopping in London, we’re pleased we could get our passengers where they wanted to be.

“Now being able to run a near-normal service and with more and more conductors and OBS coming into work on strike days, the RMT needs to call a halt to their futile industrial action on Southern. They now need to resume talks with us, shake hands on a deal and let's move forward together.”

Union RMT branded the announcement of Horton’s salary a “pay bonanza,” as general secretary Mick Cash said that it showed a “wholesale management failure,” within GTR, adding that today’s news will unleash a “fresh tidal wave of anger” from the public.

“Guards fighting for public safety for the past year have been abused and threatened and it’s about time this company got its priorities right and got back round the table and negotiated a settlement with the unions that guarantees the second safety-critical member of staff on their trains,” he said. 

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Andrew Gwilt   10/04/2017 at 20:53

Why can't Southern Rail be stripped from Govia/Go Ahead (Govia Thameslink Railway) and to be managed by another train company such as Abellio, Trenitalia First Group, MTR or DB Arriva.

Lutz   10/04/2017 at 23:52

@Andrew Gwilt Why would you do that? You would still have the same problems and union relation issues to deal, you would boost the unions resolve, and will further add to the turmoil. One franchise was selected to deal with the complexities of the cut-over to the new Thameslink service; adding a separate operator will add to the complexity.

Andrew Gwilt   11/04/2017 at 02:09

Still it doesn't matter Lutz. Southern are still the worst train operator.

Lutz   11/04/2017 at 12:55

@Andrew Gwilt More importantly is why it is the alleged worst operator, and how that can be resolved.

Jerry Alderson   11/04/2017 at 20:00

This news is certainly not helpful in getting passengers and staff on side. It also did not help that some of the media falsely reported that his salary had doubled when in fact it had stayed the same. They had compared 12 months' GTR salary this year versus six months' GTR salary the previous year (as he had been paid by the former standalone Southern franchise for the first six months of that previous year).

Andrew Gwilt   15/04/2017 at 22:05

Maybe you were right @Lutz.

Jon   26/04/2017 at 03:47

Yep, other people can be right too.

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