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Staying competitive Swiss Railways plans to axe 900 jobs by 2020

Increasing costs of infrastructure and maintenance are behind the cost-cutting measures

(Keystone)

The state-owned rail network, Swiss Federal Railways, plans to cut 900 jobs as part of efforts to save at least CHF550 million ($551.6 million) a year until 2020. It blames competition from road transport and a steep rise in costs in the railway sector. 

The efficiency measures announced on Thursday are part of a review of costs and services dubbed "RailFit20/30", aimed at making the company more competitive. However, definitive measures will only be finalised next summer after consultation with the firm McKinsey. 

Swiss Railways said the job cuts were the result of rising costs associated with providing new services, expensive new infrastructure investments like the Zurich cross-city link, and additional maintenance work. It expects the cost of transporting passengers and goods by road to drop significantly in the medium to long-term, making it necessary to ensure that rail charges stay the same or increase only moderately. 

However, even more ambitious belt-tightening measures are in store post 2020, as the Swiss rail giant plans to save up to CHF1.75 billion every year by 2030. 

“Additional job cuts might be necessary," it said in a statement. 

The company added that as far as possible the reduction in posts will be achieved through natural fluctuations and retirements. At the end of 2014, the company employed 32,730 staff.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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