Thousands of Tube workers get inflation-busting 8.4% pay rise costing TfL millions

Jubilee line trains parked at the London Underground Stratford Market Depot in Stratford, east London during a strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT). Commuters face another day of travel chaos on Thursday due to a fresh strike by thousands of workers which will cripple Tube services in London. Picture date: Thursday March 3, 2022.
Jubilee line trains parked at the London Underground Stratford Market Depot in Stratford, east London

Fifteen thousand London Underground workers are to get a bumper pay rise of more than 8%.

Transport for London (TfL) today confirmed the increase following the publication of February's Retail Price Index (RPI) figure of 8.2%.

TfL is locked into a four-year deal with unions which guarantees workers an annual pay hike of RPI+0.2%.

The 8.4% salary increase is expected to cost cast-strapped TfL £100m.

"This binding agreement was made before anyone could have predicted the pandemic’s effects on our finances or the 30-year high inflationary levels that we are now experiencing," said a TfL spokesperson.

It comes on the same day as Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to outline his spring statement today, which is expected to focus on the impact of inflation amid the cost of living crunch.

Commuters on London Underground in east London

The four-year agreement ends in 2023.

TfL relied on government bailouts of more than £5m as lockdowns and working from home devastated its income fares.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has warned of drastic cuts to public transport unless ministers agree a long-term funding agreement.

ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, which represents most Tube train drivers in London, said: "We are three years into a four year deal and the Mayor of London is doing the right thing by sticking with a deal, agreed in good faith, by both sides.

"The final year, from this April, is RPI plus 0.2 % [based on the February RPI rate published in March].

"Which means that Tube train drivers who worked throughout the pandemic to keep the capital moving will not suffer a real-term cut in wages as the government fails to get a grip with the cost of living crisis in this country."

Sadiq Khan came under fire for not placing a limit on the pay rise which would put a "sizeable dent" in TfL’s finances.

"Tube workers are officially getting an 8.4% pay rise. The same ones that have been striking for months, the ones that brought London to a standstill a few weeks ago," said Keith Prince, Deputy Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee.

"Why did the Mayor not mitigate against this? He was advised to cap it, but it was not capped. This is going to put a sizeable dent in TfL’s struggling finances, Sadiq Khan has claimed on several occasions that TfL is ‘days away from bankruptcy’.

"This Mayor seems incapable of planning for the future, choosing to fritter away taxpayers’ money on misguided pay deals TfL cannot afford," Mr Prince added.