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Another Driver Unfairly  Dismissed by Connex
"Dangerous Trains Sent  Into Service"
"You Have to Watch  Your Back Everywhere  Here Now"
unofficial CSE News
Connex South East
Overcrowding on Connex South Eastern
Connex South East
Taxpayers' Money Paid to Connex so far - £779,000,000
Paid to Connex South Eastern: £479,000,000
1996-97 £58,000,000
1998-99 £86,000,000
99-2000 £64,000,000
2000-01 £43,000,000
2001-02 £55,000,000
Extra funding £58,000,000
2002-03 £??,000,000
Paid to Connex South Central: £300,000,000
1996-97 £76,000,000
1997-98 £76,000,000
1998-99 £58,000,000
99-2000 £50,000,000
2000-01 £40,000,000
House of Commons 15th November 2001
House of Commons 23th November 2001

"Connex has always been the problem child"
Richard Rosser, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association rail union, said: "This news is not surprising - Connex has always been the problem child of the privatised railway.
"Its passengers and its employees have certainly felt the brunt of poor performance in the past. But are we to believe that Connex are the only train operator in financial difficulties?"

Good Riddance to Connex
This is the response of one newspaper, the Times: "Good riddance. The sacking of Connex gives hope to rail passengers.
At last, a rail watchdog has stopped barking and started to bite. After years of being threatened, fined and bailed out, the South East rail operator Connex has finally been dismissed by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). Connex had called the SRA’s bluff once too often in asking for an outrageous extra £200 million in subsidy to run the franchise until the end of 2006, on top of the £58 million already agreed. The SRA’s tough response is a welcome sign that Britain’s other rail companies cannot keep demanding taxpayers’ money and expect to stay in business."

Connex thrown out by the Strategic Rail Authority
After almost 7 years of causing misery for its passengers and employees alike, Connex at last got its comeuppance on Thursday 26th June 2003. At 6pm four senior Connex executives were given the news at the SRA headquarters. The SRA chairman Richard Bowker read out a 2½ minute statement. It started: "The purpose of this meeting is to convey notice of termination of Connex South Eastern's franchise. This is not a negotiation. It is a termination."

Mr Bowker told the Connex executives that they had 2 options - either accept a 6 month notice period or immediately leave the franchise. In an unprecedented move, the SRA had secretly formed its own company (consisting of consultants and SRA staff) - South Eastern Trains - which would either take over there and then, or in 6 months, depending on the response from Connex. 2 sets of press releases had already been prepared, depending on their decision. They were given 40 minutes to respond. The Connex team decided that they would accept 6 months notice. If there is a severe deterioration in services over the next six months, the SRA has the power to terminate Connex's franchise with immediate effect and confiscate the £19.4m performance bond deposited by the company.

The SRA had become concerned about the quality of Connex's management. Towards the end of 2002 Connex requested an extra £58 million of funding - on top of the £55 million subsidy for that year. The SRA paid up but cut the franchise by 5 years. However, Richard Bowker has said that the figures Connex produced were not credible. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm, was brought in by the SRA to review Connex's controls.

There were conditions that Connex had to abide by in order to receive the extra funding, one being that Connex should not pay any dividend to its French parent Veolia Environnement (formerly known as Vivendi Environnement) or to any of the other Connex companies that operate inernationally. Mr Bowker said: "We made it an absolutely explicit requirement that the money cannot be moved outside the operating company, that there can be no leakage of funds whatsoever."

"We had a very detailed audit carried out by consultant auditors. It became clear that many of the things that we were concerned about had not been addressed and we reached the point recently when we said: 'Enough's enough, you have not met the requirements of this agreement in December last year and we have lost confidence in your ability to sort this out to our satisfaction'.

"The subsidy is taxpayers' money. It is very, very important. We have a duty here under the Transport Act to be satisfied that public money is being properly and effectively accounted for and managed, and we had real doubts and real concerns."

In fact Connex paid a £20 million dividend to Veolia in 2002.

The report by PricewaterhouseCoopers was said to be "unemotional but damning" and as long as a telephone directory, concluded that Connex had an inadequate grasp of basic financial modelling and cashflow management. One SRA source was quoted as saying "If they can't manage their own pocketbook, how are they going to get to grips with action to improve their performance?"

On top of its inability to come up to the SRA's requirements, Connex has recently requested an additional £200 million in funding.

In December, when Connex finally has gone, the SRA will then bring forward the competition for a new Integrated Kent Franchise, incorporating existing South Eastern services and the planned high-speed domestic services on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, with the winning private-sector company taking over within 12 to 18 months.


Olivier Brousse, Connex Chief Executive
World Gone Crazy - Olivier Brousse, Connex Chief Executive, receiving the National Railway Awards 'Achievement of the Year 2002' Award. Its "independent, impartial judging panel......includes some of the sharpest, most knowledgeable railway minds in the business...."
Connex World of Fantasy
Statements from senior Connex managers over the years have shown a tenuous grasp of reality. The flow of workers out of Connex has been constant - through sackings and resignations. The majority of drivers in the London ('Metro') area have either left or been sacked. The same 2 reasons for leaving are always given - the aggressive and bullying style of management and the deterioration in working conditions. But how has Connex tried to explain this away? At a 'Dalkia (owned by Veolia Environment) Business Breakfast Debate, 27 May 2002, Olivier Brousse, gave a speech which included the following gem: "I have to say that one of the early signs of the success of Connex is that more and more of our people are poached by other train companies or contractors." !!!!!!!!

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Connex loses the south eastern franchise in the UK