Fico stops planned railway cuts

IN WHAT observers believe to be a populist move ahead of the December 2 municipal elections, PM Robert Fico has personally intervened to stop planned cuts to passenger railway service and possible layoffs in the company.

IN WHAT observers believe to be a populist move ahead of the December 2 municipal elections, PM Robert Fico has personally intervened to stop planned cuts to passenger railway service and possible layoffs in the company.

As of December 10, rail transporter Železničná Spoločnosť Slovensko (ZSSK) had planned to cut about 200 train lines due to low passenger numbers, to shorten service on another 250 lines, and fire up to 300 employees.

But Fico said following a cabinet session on November 29 that he would not tolerate the cuts, and threatened to fire the company's management if it decided to go ahead with the plan.

"If the company goes this way, its representatives will be replaced. Because cutting services or laying people off is the easy way out," Fico said.

According to the PM, the government is obliged to help Slovak workers become more mobile, and therefore it must preserve these train connections even if they are not profitable for the company.

The government also decided to increase ZSSK's funding from the state budget because it provided a service in the public interest.

Last week the coalition council, a senior government body, decided to increase funding for ZSSK for 2007 by Sk0.5 billion to Sk5 billion. After the most recent cabinet session, however, it became clear that in order to keep the train lines open and avoid layoffs, the firm needed another Sk400 million.


- Martina Jurinová

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

The mass testing in Nitra.

News digest: Results from weekend nationwide testing still not out

The parliamentary committee recommends one candidate for new police chief. NASA picks a picture by Slovak photographer as its Astronomy Picture of the Day.

13 h
Gábor Grendel (OĽaNO), Juraj Šeliga (Za Ľudí), and SaS MPs Marian Viskupič and Jana Bittó Cigániková.

Matovič government takes after Smer in lawmaking

The second-largest testing scheme of the whole population is underway in Slovakia. Government says they ordered enough vaccines. Layoffs of transnationals in Bratislava.

18 h
PM Igor Matovič (front) and Economy Minister Richard Sulík (back)

Hlas is gaining strength, along with Sulík’s SaS

At the same time, most people think PM Matovič is not managing the coronavirus crisis well.

20 h
US President Joe Biden

Biden really is waking up each morning with the goal of making things better

The new president is old and imperfect, but it's difficult to question his motives.

24. jan