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Job cuts Bombardier to downsize Swiss operations

One of the Swiss trains being produced by Bombardier

(Keystone)

Canadian plane-maker Bombardier will cut about 650 jobs in Switzerland by the end of 2018, the largest Swiss trade union said on Thursday.

The job cuts, which include almost 500 temporary postings, will come from Bombardier facilities in Villeneuve and Zurich, Unia announcedexternal link on its website. That would remove well more than half of the company’s employees in Switzerland.

The company confirmed the move on Thursday. It said in a statement that the cuts would affect administrative and not production areas. Bombardier's sites in Switzerland would become more specialised to cut costs and improve productivity, the firm added.

The Canadian aerospace and railway equipment manufacturer recently won a major new contract with Swiss Federal Railways, which is expected to take delivery of 23 new Twindexx Swiss Express trains from Bombardier by the end of this year, three years after the originally projected delivery date.

Bombardier said on Friday that it would be delivering the trains to deadline. Swiss Federal Railways also expressed its confidence about the delivery in comments to the Swiss news agency.

Bombardier, which operates in more than 60 countries, says it has around 1,000 employees at its Swiss offices in Zurich, Villeneuve, Winterthur and Oberwil.

Bombardier Transportation, with its headquarters in Berlin, won the tender to supply the double-decker trains for intercity rail travel in June 2012. It is one of the biggest suppliers of railway transportation technology in Switzerland. 

“Unia has already organized a meeting with the staff and its representatives to defend jobs, the interests of all employees and discuss strategies to adopt for the future,” the union said, adding that it would “actively engage with the staff to maintain as many jobs as possible”.

In the face of multimillion-dollar losses in revenue and recent earnings, Bombardier is going through a global restructuring and has already announced that it plans to eliminate more than a quarter of its 8,500 jobs in Germany.

In 2016, it announced a major restructuring of approximately 7,500 jobs worldwide, representing 10% of its workforce.

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