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Another Driver Unfairly Dismissed by Connex
"Dangerous Trains Sent Into Service"
This is the front page headline of the Dartford and Swanley Express in March (2003). The article goes on:
"Train company managers chasing bonuses and performance targets sent out trains with serious defects, a tribunal has heard."
"He [Mr Kelly] said Connex made life "very difficult" for drivers who voiced concerns about safety."
"He said he had been required to work illegally long shifts. Drivers who complained were bullied, intimidated and threatened with suspension."
The Kelly verses Connex South Eastern tribunal attracted much media attention. Newspapers, radio and TV reported on the health and safety issues that Mr Kelly had highlighted. Apart from the problem of managers ordering trains with safety faults sent into passenger service, another issue Mr Kelly complained about, was, as reported by meridian news, "drivers working excessive hours and being dangerously tired."
The website at this is local London writes: "Mr Kelly says his numerous complaints about the safety of the trains and tracks on the north Kent line over several years are the real reason that he was fired. And he says the problem is not going to go away. “The track and trains are a disgrace and Connex and Network Rail’s safety procedures are a shambles,” he said."
The article continues: "He says Connex has got away with a spate of near accidents and this will go on until there is a major loss of life."
"You have to watch your back everywhere here now"
"Yes they are trying to build a case up. What you ought to do is keep your head real f**king low."
One of the tribunal documents was a transcript of a meeting where 2 Connex managers interviewed Mr Kelly. The secretly recorded interview includes the local managers condemning senior Connex managers. The interview included this exchange:
RD (a local manager): "I don't like what I'm doing. This is pissing me off. Yes, they are - off the cuff - trying to build something up for you.......You have to watch your back everywhere here now. Yes they are trying to build a case up. What you ought to do is keep you head real f**king low. See and hear nothing."
Jim Kelly: "Thank you for that. Who's behind this - Thompson?
RD: "Thompson, that's who's pushing it. You've ruffled his feathers. What I'm trying to say is I don't like the way he manipulates pawns. Between you and I, on the commercial side he's probably a diamond genius but on management side he's not got a f**king clue."
The senior manager referred to, J Thompson, played a prominent role in the Holden verses Connex South Eastern tribunal, where it was accepted that Connex had waged "a sustained campaign" against Mr Holden in hounding him out because of his role as a health and safety representative. This particular manager had been involved in Connex's breach of health and safety legislation. Since then he has been promoted.
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