Swedish rail operator SJ to lose 400 in job cuts

Swedish rail operator SJ is to axe 400 sales and administration jobs in a bid to meet ‘changing customer buying habits’.

SJ announced that it needs to cut costs by SEK 1 billion (€114m) in three years to compete in Sweden’s liberalised passenger rail market.

Of the redundancies, 237 administration jobs will be lost across SL offices in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Krylbo.

With more passengers ordering their tickets online, SJ plans to close 17 travel centres, at the loss of 68 permanent positions.

SJ will also scale back staff numbers in customer service. The company’s call center in Tranas, which currently employees 95 employees, is to be closed.

The job losses will save SJ SEK 200 million (€22.7m) a year.

In a statement, Crister Fritzson, chief executive of SJ, said: “Our goal is to be the customers’ first choice. Therefore, we are investing including the modernized train, develop better self-service solutions for our customers and customer facing hosts on platforms. But it is not enough. We need to create space for reduced ticket prices to be competitive. This means that we need to reduce costs.

“We have today informed our employees that we need to lay off. It is a difficult statement to make, but necessary to secure SJ’s future. We will do everything to support our staff, in cooperation with unions, affected municipalities and employment security.”

As well as the 400 full time positions, 53 temporary jobs will be lost in sales.

Earlier this month, SJ had outlined its SEK 3.5 billion (€400 million) programme to modernise its fleet of 36 high-speed SJ 2000 trains after experiencing continued growth in passenger numbers.