Frontline staff say KCRC chief Michael Tien Puk-sun, who has been struggling to introduce a more transparent corporate culture, is to blame for management problems at the rail operator. KCR Officers Union chairman Rainbow Lau Choy-hung said staff morale had reached a new low since Mr Tien took office in 2000. 'He obviously wants to achieve something, but the strategies he took - pay cuts, the contract system, and enhancing the notification system of any service delay from 20 to eight minutes - have severely damaged the staff's sense of belonging to the company,' she said. Drivers were nowadays hired on two-year contracts, something the previous chairman, Yeung Kai-yin, promised would never happen, she said. 'Why do you think there are so many leaks of information to the press? Staff are full of grudges as they are working longer hours with lower salaries and job security,' Ms Lau said. The KCRC was reprimanded by the government after the media disclosed in mid-December that the rail operator failed to make public fractures found in the welding of train components. Mr Tien said last month he was 'willing to bear full responsibility for failing to implement a culture of transparency in the company'. A media report on the collision of two trains at the Pat Heung depot in July 2004 also sparked claims of a lack of transparency. To improve the KCRC's image, Mr Tien cut from 20 minutes to eight minutes the length of service delay that required public notification. 'Requiring us to report service delays of only eight minutes is like asking us to collect scattered beans,' said KCR workers' union chairman Ko Pak-kwan. 'The policy not only imposed enormous pressure on frontline workers but it made us look bad, like all of a sudden we make so many mistakes.' Acting KCRC chief executive Samuel Lai Man-hey said: 'We appreciate the pressure is great and we can only do our best, but it's not just up to us to decide what to report, as someone may always inform the press.' Mr Lai said the pay freeze and cuts were introduced in 2002 to keep pay scales in line with market trends. He said contract staff were introduced when the West Rail was launched in 2003 and the policy continued due to uncertainty over the planned merger with the MTR Corporation.