Tube drivers will get a cash bonus of up to £1,200 for working during the Olympic Games, it was revealed today. The ground-breaking deal means unions will not disrupt the three-week Games by staging any walk-outs - but the move sparked outrage as transport chiefs were accused of offering a "bribe" simply for drivers to do their job. The deal eclipses the £500 bonus being paid to Network Rail main line staff during the Games.
Conservative MP Matthew Hancock said: "It's outrageous, holding people to ransom. People should not have to be bribed just to do their job. "The Olympics should be a celebration for London - not a chance for the travelling public to be ripped off." Tory MP Richard Bacon, who sits on the Commons public accounts committee, said: "Tube drivers are not badly paid and they should not need extra money just to do their job."
All 2,300 drivers on the Tube, who earn a basic salary of £42,750, will receive a flat-rate £500 bonus. But complex confidential agreements seen by the Evening Standard - including special rates for the Olympics opening ceremony and overtime paid at £32 an hour - mean drivers will receive more than double that. The deal also covers the Paralympics. Negotiators knew they had to agree a good bonus deal to ensure the success of the Games.
A senior source connected with the negotiations said: "The drivers could have demanded fur coats for the wives or football season tickets for the men if they wanted. It's an amazing deal - but one which the Tube had to do. There was no alternative."A spokesman for the negotiating team at Aslef, the train drivers' union, said: "This is a great settlement and will ensure the successful deliverance of train services during the Olympics."
Tube managing director Mike Brown said: "London Underground is committed to ensuring that the train service we provide contributes to the successful operation of the Games and I am pleased that we and the unions have been able to engage in constructive dialogue to reach this agreement."
Sources told the Standard that every driver will get a minimum of £800 because of the way overtime and shift changes are calculated.
Who else will jump on this runaway Olympic bandwaggon??