Reports suggest consortium pays some labourers £79 an hour on tube upgrade

The failed Metronet consortium is at the centre of another row after reports that labourers on the troubled tube upgrade were earning up to £144,000 a year.

Reports suggest that a night track operative, the lowest grade of manual labourer, was earning a minimum rate of £48.10 an hour on the project - £87,000 a year without overtime. More skilled labourers were reportedly earning up to £79.19 an hour, which equates to roughly £144,000 a year.

The costs were reportedly the rates charged to London Underground by Metronet for its workers, although not all was passed on to the individual employees.

The report, in the Evening Standard, also alleges that despite problems with the upgrade programme, Metronet managers spent large amounts of tax payers’ money on staff entertainment, including the Bond Street station modernisation team holding routine work meetings on a hired Thames pleasure cruiser with complimentary bar.