Government okays 5,000 redundancies in railways

Today the government finally approved the revitalisation plans for the three financially troubled state-owned railway companies, with some 5,000 jobs to be axed.

The plan compiled by the Ministry of Transport wants to get the three companies back on track within three years, in which time they should offset all their mutual claims and receivables and establish better and more efficient management.

Railway freight company ZS Cargo should see the entry of a strategic investor, which the Ministry will choose through an international tender by putting a 66% stake in the company up for grabs. The tender should be finalised by the summer of 2012. A total of 1,800 layoffs will be made gradually in the company, which is around one fifth of its workforce. The gearing of the company amounts to a massive 75%, with liabilities of EUR 518 million over assets of EUR 685 million.

The company ZSSK, which is responsible for rail passenger transport, is also supposed to discard of around 12% of its workforce by 2014, meaning some 620 redundancies, including managers. The actual number will depend on how the company restructures its railway connections, which it plans to cut by around 1.14 million kilometers from the 32.4 million kilometers it covers at present.

The job cuts in the third company, Zeleznice Slovenskej Republiky (ZSR), which maintains and operates the railway infrastructure, will come swiftly, with around 2,700 jobs to go by the end of next year. Other measures include restructuring and new infrastructure administration and maintenance systems.

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