Nine Jubilee Line Extension electricians have been awarded payments of between £5000 and £8000 after winning an industrial tribunal case that could set a precedent for the industry.

Electrical union AEEU brought the cases after JLE M&E contractor Drake & Scull refused to pay the electricians lodging allowance.

Electricians are traditionally entitled to a supplement to their wages when they are carrying out work on jobs where they have to live away from home, to cover the cost of temporary rented accommodation.

Drake & Scull claimed it had employed the electricians on the condition that they were based in London and, as such, not eligible for a lodging allowance. The company said that, after starting work, the electricians claimed they were usually resident outside London and insisted that they were entitled to lodging allowance.

The industrial tribunal ruled against Drake & Scull in all but three of the 12 cases that the AEEU brought forward, and the nine employees will now receive lodging allowance backdated to 31 March 1998.

An AEEU source said there were a number of JLE electricians who had also had their lodging allowance withheld and they would be taking the matter up with the company in the light of the tribunal.

A spokesman for Drake & Scull said: “It’s not what I would have hoped for, but we will not be appealing the ruling. The problem is the rules relating to lodging payments were changed last year, and now place a greater responsibility on employers.”