Tube manager earns as much as PM

Thanks to overtime payments

Updated: 
The leg and boot of a woman stepping into a tube carriage, and crossing the yellow line of the world famous 'Mind the gap' signa

One tube manager was paid almost as much as the prime minister last year, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The Transport for London (TfL) data, uncovered by the Times, reveals that one control room manager earned £61,063 in overtime last year, on top of his £77,400 salary.

At a total of £138,463, this is just £4,037 less than David Cameron earns.

In 2012, a technical officer took home £59,618 in overtime, and a year later another manager made an extra £56,113. Last year, in total, TfL paid out £41 million in overtime, with the vast majority going to London Underground staff. Indeed, the amount paid to Tube workers has risen by nearly £3.7 million in the last three years.

However, TfL blames the high level of overtime payments on the tube modernisation programme which has been taking place over the last year, which has meant asking some specialist engineers and skilled project staff to work overtime.

"We routinely review our use of overtime, keeping a close eye on the balance between overtime and normal hours working, to ensure we operate with value for money for fare and taxpayers," it says.

Richard Tracey, the Greater London Authority transport spokesman for the Conservatives, said it was hypocritical of unions to strike over pay when staff were 'sneakily' doubling their salaries through overtime.

However, while TfL pays staff an extra 25% per hour for overtime, Tube drivers don't get it. They work to rosters allocating them either to early shifts or late ones.

As a spokesman for the train drivers' union ASLEF tells the Telegraph: "Our drivers don't work overtime – so whoever is getting that overtime money, it's not Tube drivers."

While a Tube driver has a very generous starting salary - just under £50,000 - there are downsides to the job. Even without the Night Tube, shifts starting as early as 4.45 in the morning, and end as late as 1.30 at night.

Alcohol is banned for eight hours before starting a shift, and drivers can be required to work for as many as 17 weekends in a row - making family life already difficult.

Indeed, the recent strikes that have brought London to a standstill have centred around the prospect of night shifts, rather than just pay.

Last month, the opening of the Night Tube service, which had been due to start on September 12, was suspended because of plans for further strikes.

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