Electricians say the deal was agreed earlier this month by Drake & Scull and its workforce, along with US project troubleshooter Bechtel and London Underground, in order to resume seven-day working on the project. The deal came into operation three weeks ago and is expected to continue for the next five to six weeks.
The deal, which involves achieving specific productivity targets, involves electricians working at the weekend. It has resulted in many electricians working a 7.30am to 1pm shift on Saturday but being paid the equivalent of Saturday and Sunday, 7.30am to 7pm at double time. This works out at 41 hours’ pay for a six-hour shift.
Although the electricians are being paid to work on Sunday, many have said it is possible to meet the productivity targets by simply working a half day on Saturday.
Bechtel and LU refused to comment. A spokesman for Drake & Scull confirmed that seven-day operations began last month, but denied that electricians were working only a half day on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays.
He said: “As far as we are concerned, there is no such deal.
We have simply told our workforce that the site is open on Sunday for seven-day working. The site isn’t devoid of people on Sunday. It may have a reduced workforce, but there are people there working.” However, a JLE insider said: “The bulk of the people getting paid for working on Sunday are nowhere to be seen on the site on a Sunday morning. It’s common knowledge and it’ s been going on since Sunday work resumed last month.” A JLE electrician added: “They want as much work completed on the line as is humanly possible and they want it done as quickly as possible, too. We have to get a fair bit of work done, but it’s a good deal for us, it’s do your work and go home on Saturday. But it shows how much Bechtel must be earning to get the job finished on time.” Drake & Scull has already cancelled a number of scheduled project redundancies that were to have taken place over the past two months, and project insiders have said that two stations, Southwark and Westminster, are behind schedule and “would struggle” to be ready in time.
The Drake & Scull spokesman said work at Westminster and Southwark had increased because of additional work ordered by LU but insisted that the work would be completed in time for the scheduled opening.