Tube workers in London are set for an 8.4 per cent pay rise in a move which will cost the network £100 million at a time when its finances are strained.
The rise, which will take effect in April and apply to around 15,000 people, was confirmed after London Mayor Sadiq Khan agreed to pay staff more.
Transport for London confirmed the jump in wages on Wednesday following the release of February’s Retail Price Index (RPI) figure of 8.2 per cent.
Full-time Tube drivers will receive an extra £5,000 per year on top of their £59,000 salary.
The network is locked in a four-year deal with unions which guarantees employees an annual pay hike of RPI+0.2 per cent.
As the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, Britain’s inflation levels have surged to a 30-year high.
A spokesperson for TfL said the body is obliged to honour the terms of the pact despite the “unforeseeable” circumstances.
Mr Khan has in the past highlighted the importance of sticking to the agreement to ensure future deals could be struck.
TfL remains strapped for cash after the coronavirus crisis caused its income to dive. The service was kept afloat by a series of government bailouts.
Mr Khan has said the loss in fares during lockdowns caused TfL’s financial woes, but the Conservative-led government have accused him of mismanaging the network’s money pot.
ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, which represents most Tube train drivers in London, said the decision the network had done the “right thing” by agreeing to pay workers more.
“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 union said.
“The final year, from this April, is RPI plus 0.2 per cent [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.”
The announcement comes just weeks after millions of commuters across London had their travel plans disrupted as a result of Tube strikes. Around 10,000 workers walked out amid a dispute between the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Mr Khan over pensions, jobs and working conditions.
Earlier this month, the mayor increased Tube and bus fares by 4.8 per cent.