AIG has outraged its employees, but what choice did it have?

See also: AIG 'cancels Christmas'

The AIG employees who spoke to Insurance Times about this story were furious that their employer had cancelled this year’s Christmas celebrations, after everything the staff had gone through. And it might seem outrageous that the staff suffer because of problems at the very top of the organisation.

But what choice did AIG have? The world’s media and the US government, now its effective owner, are scrutinising its every move. Following that executive retreat which made front page headlines for weeks, any further entertainment would be tantamount to inviting a public scandal. And while this may be difficult for the staff to take, particularly those in the UK who are further removed from the troubles in New York, it is sadly a fact of working for the new breed of nationally-owned financial institution. No doubt similar howls of outrage will become common as we head into bonus season at the banks.

But the UK staff can take comfort in what their chief executive Lex Baugh told this magazine two weeks ago: AIG knows its staff are targets for other employers, and is currently looking at their pay packets in consequence. Perhaps this is more important than Christmas curry.