14:34 GMT +315 December 2019
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    Train station in Joensuu, Finland

    No More Working on the Railroad: Finnish Railways to Fire More Employees

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    Finnish State Railways (VR) is planning on laying off hundreds of workers and temporarily suspending the jobs of some of its engineers; last year, the crisis-struck company's profits fell by about one third.

    Finland's state-run railway operator plans to let go of up to 214 people during its ongoing second wave of layoffs. Wednesday morning, VR announced that it will also furlough some of its engineers, Finland's national broadcaster Yle reported.

    During the first stage of the layoffs in November, 157 VR workers allegedly lost their jobs.

    A maximum of 2,800 employees may possibly be affected by the ongoing staff cut talks. The entire process is now expected to result in a loss of some 370 jobs, which many consider to be a major improvement over the original estimate of 570.

    Moreover, VR plans a major reshuffle of home offices for train conductors, relocating them to nine base facilities across the country, while railroad engineers will face one to three weeks of unpaid leave.

    This week, VR adopted a new seasonal schedule that includes extensive station closures. The high-speed Allegro trains which connect Helsinki, Finland with the Russian city of Saint Petersburg are now stopping at fewer stations.

    Earlier this month, VR reported an operating profit for last year of some 65 million euros, one third less than during the previous year, whereas gross revenue fell by 7.5 percent.

    According to Yle's previous estimates, the weak ruble and the significant drop in the number of travelers between Russia and Finland have been identified as possible reasons for the ongoing slump.

    At present, Finland's economy remains stagnant; unemployment is steadily growing despite the Sipilä government's efforts. Finland was one the primary victims of the EU-imposed anti-Russian sanctions, with bilateral trade and tourism dropping by 40 and 19 percent, respectively.


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