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Rail company Infrabel plans 4,000 job cuts by 2020

19:00 11/01/2017

Rail infrastructure company Infrabel plans to cut 4,000 jobs by 2020, or 27% of its workforce, it has announced. The cuts are a result of the merger of the company’s subsidiaries, according to Infrabel’s business plan.

The merger concerns Tuc Rail, Infrabel’s study bureau for railway technology, and IT service provider Ixilio. Both will be swallowed up by the parent company, leading to a reduction in the total required workforce as duplicate functions are eliminated.

Infrabel and SNCB are partners in running the rail network. While SNCB is responsible for passenger traffic, Infrabel is responsible for maintaining the network and managing rail traffic.

According to the latest available public figures from end of 2014, Infrabel had 14,073 full-time staff, a figure that the business plan indicated should drop to 10,299 by 2020. “Nobody will be fired,” the company said in a statement. “The numbers will be made up by those taking voluntary redundancy and by those who retire without being replaced.”

Rail unions, meanwhile, expressed fears at the consequences of such a deep cut in staff. “It’s going to be difficult for Infrabel to assure the performance of certain functions,” warned Marianne Lerouge of ACV Transcom. She joined with socialist union CGSP in concern that only employment had been targeted in Infrabel’s plans.

“Today there is a shortage of technicians and engineers, a situation that will also develop in other personnel categories,” said Michel Abdissi of CGSP. “How are people going to make the trains run tomorrow?”

Photo courtesy Infrabel

Written by Alan Hope