Pact to settle Jubilee strike

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A PEACE formula was agreed to yesterday to end the strike on the Jubilee Line extension as management appealed to MPs to "have faith" in their ability to get it finished for the opening of the Millennium Dome.

London Transport admitted the cost had soared to pounds 3bn, pounds 900m over budget and finally gave the planned opening date - October 1999. Chances of completing on time improved with the formula agreed to yesterday. It was accepted by managers, the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union and strikers' representatives and will be put to a meeting today. Electricians, about half the workforce, are expected to vote for the offer and return to work on Monday. It was accepted by Drake and Scull, the main electrical contractor, and appears similar to a formula it rejected on Tuesday.

Management seems to have climbed down over the transfer of 12 electricians from London Bridge to Green Park, the issue that sparked the walk-out. The strikers said they were being switched because they had pointed out the inadequacies of a fire alarm system at London Bridge. However, the deal says management can choose who to transfer from now on after "appropriate notice".

Yesterday Denis Tunnicliffe, LT chief executive, was challenged by members of the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport to say why they should believe his promises when he had told them a year ago the line would open in September 1998. "I can only invite you to have more faith. Perhaps I have learnt over the last year," he said.

Mr Tunnicliffe gave an abject apology to the committee over delays to the project: "We apologise and we are very disappointed with what has happened."