Thursday, 12 November 2009

Bonus row hits Ministry of Defence

Today has seen mounting criticism of the £47m in bonuses that has been paid out to Ministry of Defence civil servants.

Although the payment of such bonuses had been agreed in earlier pay deals, and average out at less than £1,000 for each of the MoD’s 50,000 staff, families of serving soldiers have criticised the payment of such performance-related bonuses as "obscene” and “insensitive”.

An army private on the lowest salary earns £16,681 a year, with a six-month tax-free operational allowance of £2,380 if posted to Afghanistan.

The MoD employs 85,000 civil servants - one for every two active armed forces personnel.

£287,809,049 has been paid out in bonuses since 2003
Although the MoD has stated that such pay awards are met from within salary budget and have no impact on the operational or equipment budget, the UK Conservative opposition has claimed that, "Many in the armed forces will be aghast that bonuses are being paid on the basis of 'outstanding performance'"

BBC News: MoD bonuses attacked by families

  • Are there some organisations within which the payment of performance-related bonuses is inappropriate?


  1. In a word..YES! When we are at war. It's obscene these pen pushers get paid so much. Send 'em to the front line!

  2. As a principle, I think good performance should always be rewarded. However, what constitutes good performance and what you use to reward it are discussion topics in their own right!

    Actually – think I should amend my initial statement. Thinking about your last blog – rewarding someone for increasing the sales of tobacco feels wrong. Rewarding someone for masterminding ruthless city takeover bids feels wrong. Big bonuses for sellers of any products or services that basically bring people harm to mind or body feels wrong. Welcome to the world of capitalism.

    As for the context of the question - comparing a desk job in the MoD with the role of a private on active service is always going to stir up strong emotions.

    It seems to me that we need to make sure all members of the armed forces, including the front line soldiers, have the proper tools to do their job. But this is a completely separate issue to the reward mechanisms within the MoD.