The Socialist 3 March 2009
Bosses get pay-offs, workers get layoffs
RBS pension scandal: Not a penny for these fat cats!
RESEMBLING SOME kind of feudal payment in perpetuity, sacked Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin's £693,000 annual pension is absolutely outrageous. It's no wonder that Goodwin has security staff and CCTV cameras (paid for by RBS) protecting his Edinburgh home!
As RBS declared the biggest corporate loss in British history (£24 billion), Goodwin defended the payout he drew, at the age of 50, as soon as he was thrown out of the bank for wrecking it.
The government, looking for a credibility bailout - despite its complicity in this 'robbery' - threatened legal action, even hinting at retrospective legislation but has mainly appealed to Sir Fred's 'better nature' not to take the full pension.
Sir Fred's nature, however, included in 2006 altering the arrangements for RBS's employees, raising the minimum retirement age from 50 to 55 and then only if pensions were cut by between 20% and 40%.
RBS also operates a government approved system whereby the bank 'claws back' part of the payments from its pension schemes when members start drawing a state pension. When the Unite union asked RBS to waive the claw back for the lowest paid workers, Goodwin refused.
Lord Myners, who appears to have approved the Goodwin deal, had been the director of a hedge fund which had profited from the collapse of Bradford & Bingley by short-selling its shares, not long before Gordon Brown brought him into his "government of all the talents" team. Goodwin's pension pot, valued at £8.3 million at the end of 2007, appears to have been doubled.
There is no simpler way of recovering the money than by nationalising the banks and throwing onto the street the thieves who handed out Goodwin's annuity - the same people who are now threatening to sack 20,000 blameless bank workers. Goodwin's pension, valued at £16 million, is slightly less than that of ex-RBS USA chief, Lawrence Fish, who had netted $24 million in 2007.
The recently appointed executive director of RBS, Gordon Pell, had a pension valued at the end of 2007 at £8.4 million, more than Goodwin's pension at that time.
The answer to the question: Which is worse? The bank robber or the owner of a bank - is now clear!
RBS has effectively handed over £325 billion of 'toxic' assets to the government, the 'asset protection plan'. The taxpayer receives complex bits of paper worth less than a slip on the floor of a betting shop, while picking up 90% of the losses incurred on these assets.
The trillions of pounds speculated by these former 'masters of the universe' continue to evaporate and the working class pays. A job will be lost every 25 seconds during the recession, experts warn.
Cashiers and other bank workers would have done a better job running RBS than Goodwin and the current incumbent Hester - not measured according to capitalist profitability, but measured according to the right to a secure job and good housing, central tenets of socialism.
The nationalisation which the Labour Party, the Tories and the Liberals fear most is genuine socialist nationalisation, in which the fat cats receive no pay offs, only small shareholders are compensated on the basis of proven need. These would include pensioners who rely on the share income to pay utility bills, for instance.
With socialist nationalisation the banks and big corporations would be run democratically, under workers' control and management.
In this issue
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party feature
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party women
International socialist news and analysis