The phoney war between Multiplex and Cleveland bridge, which started when the steel contractor was thrown off the Wembley national stadium project in July, has turned into the real thing,

Multiplex, the main contractor on the job, last Friday served a writ on Cleveland Bridge in an effort to finally resolve the dispute.

A Multiplex statement said: “This situation has dragged on for three months. Multiplex was not prepared to allow this to continue and last week took the initiative … This writ is to resolve the contractual disputes relating to the Wembley project.”

Cleveland Bridge had conducted a guerilla campaign against its former employer by adjudicating individual disputes within the larger one. Last week it was awarded nearly £2m by an adjudicator, its second such win.

It also issued a High Court writ claiming £20m shortly after it was sacked, but did not serve it on Multiplex. It finally served the writ on Friday, within hours of Multiplex’s opening fire.

A Multiplex source said that its action had in effect forced Cleveland Bridge’s hand, and that the two parties differences would be resolved by the legal battle over the steelwork contractor’s writ.

The source said: “The idea of the Multiplex writ is to make Cleveland Bridge look at the bigger picture of the dispute, and not just specifics within it. It can no longer hide behind the threat of High Court action. It’s time for action. Multiplex wants to play out the end game.”

It's time for action; Multiplex wants to play out the end game

Multiplex source

The writ is to be heard by the Technology and Construction Court.

Last week, after winning the adjudication, Cleveland Bridge said it looked forward to receiving £1,950,980 from Multiplex as awarded in the adjudication. Further adjudications worth £4.5m are expected in the next few weeks.

Cleveland Bridge is claiming that Multiplex did not honour its commitments in June this year, when it was agreed that the steelwork firm would stop working at the site but would continue to supply steel.

The solicitor for Cleveland Bridge Martin Scott, a partner at Walker Morris, said: “This is a complex legal case that our clients feel they have no alternative but to pursue so as to protect the interest of their employees and shareholders.”