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Railways boss proposes end to strike

The Swiss Federal Railways has announced it is prepared to suspend some planned cutbacks for two months at its struggling cargo division if employees stop striking.

Railway’s head Andreas Mayer made the proposal after a meeting with Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger, and cantonal government representatives as well as parliamentarians from cantons Ticino and Graubünden.

Union representatives were not invited.

Employees have been striking at the locomotive maintenance workshops in Bellinzona, canton Ticino, since cutbacks and a transfer of their work to the other side of the country were announced last week.

The two months give the local authorities and the Railways time to find other solutions. The cargo division says it would cost SFr50 million to upgrade the workshops, a sum it cannot afford given its precarious financial status.

Last year, it lost more than SFr190 million ($187.4 million).

The unions will hold a meeting with the employees on Thursday to decide if the strike goes on. Union representatives are already warning that the Railways is not making any promises nor considering going back on its decision to close other sites and slash jobs elsewhere in Switzerland.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR