Cameron's comment, made while he was at a European Union summit in Brussels, came after Business Secretary Vince Cable urged other RBS executives to follow the example of the bank's chief, Stephen Hester, The Guardian reported. Hester said he would waive the bonus of almost 1 million pounds ($1.55 million) that caused an outcry among union leaders and Labor Party politicians.
"They have got to have proper regard in terms of restraint when they have had so much money from the taxpayer and they have made so many mistakes in the past," Cameron said. "They need to do a better job -- as everybody has -- about explaining how pay is linked to performance."
Cameron and other officials have said even though the government owns a more than 80 percent stake in RBS, decisions on compensation should be made independently by the board.
Hester aides said he decided to give up his bonus -- which was half what he received last year -- because he did not want to be a focus of parliamentary debate.
Ed Miliband, leader of the Labor Party, called for a "change in the culture." He said the flap about Hester's bonus should not be a "one-off episode."
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