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Wednesday, October 7, 1998 Published at 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK


New set-back for Dome tube

Jubilee extension will now be opened in three stages

The extension to London's Jubilee Line could face "massive disruption" because of new limits to working hours, an industry magazine has said.

Contract Journal reported that hundreds of electricians on the Jubilee Line extension want to see their working hours cut from 66 to 48 a week in accordance with the EU's working time directive.

Stephen Evans: Workers will cut their hours to 48 hour limit
It says that 500 electricians have voted to work to rule with the immediate end of weekend working, 12-hour shifts and some night shifts.

They are demanding eight days pay for seven days work if they are to sign away their rights to limit their working hours.

Two weeks ago, an American firm, Bechtel, was brought in to ensure that line would be built in on time.

A leading consultant told the magazine: "Bechtel has a reputation for not letting anything get in its way.

"There is a strong possibility they will terminate some contracts and bring in a continental contractor and workforce if that is what it takes to get the job done."

Serious situation

An official of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union said a "serious situation" was developing which would never have arisen if London Underground had worked out a proper agreement.

The 10-mile extension - the largest civil engineering project in Europe - had been due to open this year.

[ image: Prescott: Promise in June]
Prescott: Promise in June
In June, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott promised it would be finished by Spring 1999.

LT Chief Executive Denis Tunnicliffe said the rate of work on the stations over the summer had been "disappointing".

The first phase from Stratford to North Greenwich in east London is to be opened by 30 April, 1999.

The second phase from north Greenwich to Waterloo is due to open in late summer 1999, with the final link scheduled for autumn 1999.

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