Thousands of job losses in railway companies

The three state-owned railway companies ZSR, ZSSK Slovensko and ZSSK Cargo are all in financial trouble, with many redundancies expected as a result.

ZSR, which manages railway infrastructure, is preparing to let go roughly one in ten employees, meaning some 1,700 people working at the company could soon be out of a job. The railway labour union is pointing the blame at the state for not handing out enough money, but transport minister Jan Figel thinks the company is highly overstaffed.

Rail passenger company ZSSK Slovensko is also feeling the pinch, and recently announced the cancellation of 20 local lines that are proving ineffective. This could affect many local communities who are reliant on the connections to get to and from work.

Rail freight company ZSSK Cargo also took the decision recently to let around 2,000 of its staff go. It has been suffering for some time, and received a loan of EUR 170 million under the former government, which it is not able to pay back.

Redundancies in ZSSK Cargo were in the pipeline under the former government already, but these plans of former transport minister Lubomir Vazny were stopped by former PM Robert Fico, possibly because it was too close to the 2010 elections. Vazny wanted to merge the three rail companies into a single holding, which is how they used to be.

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