The most senior official of newly nationalised ScotRail is earning between £175,000 and £180,000, it has been revealed.

Details of the six-figure salaries earned by senior executives working for the under-fire company have been revealed for the first time – and were immediately criticised by the RMT union. The train operator is required to disclose leadership pay to bring it into line with other non-departmental public bodies.

Our sister title The Herald reports Transport Scotland said the salaries were “commensurate with market rates”, but the RMT said it believed the operator deliberately postponed publishing salaries of senior staff while negotiations over industrial action by its members were continuing.

ScotRail has said its pay is reflective of having to attract and retain individuals with the skills required to lead the operator.

Chief operating officer Joanne Maguire earns between £175,000 and £180,000 in her role. Ms Maguire is the former vice-principal at the University of West of Scotland but the RMT criticised her lack of previous experience in the rail industry when her new role was announced last December.

ScotRail’s interim finance director James Griffin is paid between £170,000 and £175,000 and David Lister, who is safety, sustainability and asset director, has a salary in the range of £150,000 to £155,000. Mr Lister is also given £7,500 as part of a car allowance.

The operator also confirmed service delivery director David Simpson earns between £135,000 and £140,000 and commercial director Lesley Kane is paid between £130,000 and £135,000. Both are also in receipt of the additional car payment. Interim HR director Marie-Therese Weighton and interim communications director David Ross are both paid between £115,000 and £120,000.

The Scottish Government set up a separate organisation called Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH) to help oversee ScotRail after it was taken into public ownership on April. SRH has two people on its senior team, chief executive officer Chris Gibb and finance director David Lowrie. Both Mr Gibb, who is paid £120,000, and Mr Lowrie, who earns £108,000, are part-time and are contracted to work three days a week.

The highest-paid executive in Scotland’s rail industry is Alex Hynes, who is the managing director of Scotland’s Railway. Mr Hynes, who is a joint managing director of ScotRail and Network Rail Scotland, earns up to £335,000, which is paid by Network Rail. When he was originally appointed to lead ScotRail in 2017,

Mr Hynes’ basic pay was around £255,000-per-year. In recent weeks, rail services have been severely disrupted due to action by the Aslef and RMT unions over pay and conditions for staff.

In May, ScotRail introduced a temporary timetable that cut about 700 daily services after drivers refused to work on their rest days. Both the RMT and Aslef have now agreed to suspend industrial action after agreeing a 5 per cent pay increase for their members, as well as a freeze on compulsory redundancies for five years.

Last month, ScotRail was forced to cancel 90% of its trains during three days of strike action by the RMT in a UK dispute with Network Rail. After details of the top earners were published, Mick Hogg, the RMT’s regional organiser for Scotland, branded executive pay in the Scottish rail industry as “obscene”.

He said: “A lot of our members are annoyed by the size of these pay packets and feel they far outweigh what they bring to the table and what they have offered our members. In my opinion, they deliberately postponed publishing these figures as part of a ploy over negotiations.

“Our members have been portrayed as greedy rail workers looking for a fast buck, but it’s clear as day as to who the greedy are and it’s the executive teams running Scotland’s rail network.”

Since 2010, Scottish non-departmental public bodies and public corporations must disclose senior leadership pay as part of a transparency drive.

Mr Gibb, SRH chief executive and ScotRail chairman, said: “The senior team across ScotRail and Scottish Rail Holdings do an important job in leading our 5,100-strong team as we recover from the pandemic.

“Pay needs to be set at fair market rates to attract and retain the best talent to do that job. We recognise that, as part of the public sector, we must ensure pay is fair and provides value for taxpayers.

“We will continue to work with government to ensure this happens.”

Transport Scotland said the publication of the salaries followed the operator’s movement into public ownership. A spokesman said: “This transparency is welcome and will be a key feature of how ScotRail will be run as a publicly-owned and controlled operator.

“Ministers have been assured these salaries are commensurate with market rates for senior leaders at organisations on this size and scale.

“We would expect everyone working in Scotland’s Railway to be paid at least the Scottish living wage and have made clear the Scottish Government’s expectations that fair work is embedded in ScotRail’s culture and working practices.”