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Tube restructure hampers maintenance

LONDON UNDERGROUND (LUL) station staff are preventing maintenance engineers from carrying out vital Tube repairs as a result of restructuring ahead of the system's privately financed upgrade.

NCE understands that station staff are turning maintenance staff away because restructuring has left them with no say in maintenance programming.

Under shadow running ahead of the privately funded upgrade the Tube has been divided into three 'infracos' whose responsibilities mirror the three Tube upgrade concessions.

Infraco BCV is in charge of the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines; Infraco JNP has the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines and the subsurface Infraco has the District, Circle and Metropolitan Lines.

Before shadow running station staff were consulted over what works were needed.

But this stopped after restructuring in September 1999, creating a rift between maintenance crews and station staff.

Station managers have claimed ignorance of faxed warnings that work is scheduled to start, one Infraco source told NCE.

'Staff say they weren't given warnings or ignore faxes for lastminute bookings, ' he said, adding that last minute bookings are generally for more important work.

NCE understands that there is also friction between Infraco JNP staff and those at Infraco BCV.

Infraco BCV maintenance staff are thought to have prioritised their own maintenance work ahead of that planned by JNP staff at interchange stations where facilities are shared.

BCV and JNP staff are also understood to have disagreed about maintenance standards leading to disputes over how repairs are carried out at shared stations.

The Tubelines consortium, which will take over Infraco JNP, said this week that it was aware of the problems facing Infraco JNP staff.

Tubelines chief executive Terry Morgan said the problems were understandable due to the culture change employees had experienced. 'They're just territorial, ' he said of station staff.

He confirmed that Tubelines, Metronet - which will take over BCV and subsurface lines - and London Underground are working on a 'partnership strategy' to ensure access problems will be ironed out.

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