Latvian railways plan to lay off hundreds of employees

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Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits (New Conservative Party) told Latvian Radio November 4 that the Latvian railway company Latvijas dzelzceļš plans to dismiss around 700 employees this year and possibly more next year.

Linkaits said employees were being laid off from the company to make it more efficient. An audit carried out by the company showed that the number of employees at Latvian railways is higher than in comparable operations in neighboring countries performing the same duties.

“It was the last post-Soviet company, like Latvenergo and Lattelecom, where there was no significant change in organizational or technical processes,” explained the Minister. The changes were started last year and continued this year by analysing what actions can be done with fewer people, how to better deploy these people across the entire infrastructure in Latvia. It also reached a reduction of approximately 700 employees. They include around 200 administration employees and around 500 who work in the railway infrastructure.

In response to the question whether further redundancies are expected, Linkaits said: “I do not deny that in future - next year and the year after - the company will look for ways to work more optimally, as is the case in Lithuania and Estonia.” 

The next tasks of the company are to continue its upgrade, as well as preparations for new electric trains, which also includes the reconstruction of platforms.

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