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SBB savings not accepted for workers - CSR

SBB savings not accepted for workers – CSR

The Swiss Federal Railways Corporation (SBB) has announced savings measures that will affect the wage deduction system still considered particularly beneficial for employees of the former directorate. The news was announced on Friday at the start of negotiations between the social partners. These interventions are considered “unacceptable” by trade unions.

Looking for potential savings in a “severely stressed” financial situation and unwillingness to cut wages or cut jobs, SBB intends to focus on those pay cuts “where they have been involved so far to an above-average extent,” according to one of the information reported to employees. “We also need to think about possible savings in this area,” wrote director Vincent Ducruet, stressing that 44% of business costs are related to wages and social benefits. In particular, it is envisaged that from 2023 the deduction for sick leave costs as well as the contribution to the risk of pension fund payments will increase.

Unions have expressed anger over “employee-supported” economic measures that will reduce the purchasing power of all employees, and undermine protections for those in their fifties. The Transport Employees Union (SEV), Transfair, the Association of Public Transport Directors and the Swiss Trade Union of Train Drivers and Aspirants (VSLF) have written.

The financial situation of the railways is delicate: between 2020 and 2021 they incurred losses estimated at one billion francs despite saving more than 300 million francs from the public coffers. The union, as the owner, called for a plan to reduce debt and improve profitability. The company will have to provide up to 6 billion francs to ensure sustainable financing until 2030. In addition, starting in 2024, it will have to reduce its deficit by 80 million francs per year, by reducing spending or additional income. The current debt is more than 11 billion dollars. The coverage rate is 13.7%, more than double the 6.5% limit set by the union.

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The cantons, which have a say in regional transport, expect the SBB to make an effort. They are no longer willing to bear the current costs.

Diem / ATS