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As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt in the passenger transportation industry across the country, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) has announced temporary layoffs of some 30 management and professional employees, effective from 14 August 2020. This measure is in addition to retirements and vacant positions that will not be filled, which brings the total of impacted positions to 80.
Although VIA Rail has recently seen a slight increase in ridership, with added departures in some of its markets, several routes remain suspended. As a result, it has become imperative that measures be taken to diligently reduce the financial impact of the current crisis on the organisation, such as hiring freezes and reduced work schedules for its teams.
President and CEO of VIA Rail, Cynthia Garneau, said: “VIA Rail is not immune to the current reality. As with all passenger carriers, the pandemic continues to have a major impact on our operations, with ridership not showing any significant recovery at the national level. We are making difficult decisions to lessen the financial impact and safeguard the funds we have been allocated. I realise that this is a very difficult situation for affected employees and their families, and we look forward to calling them back once the recovery is underway.”
VIA Rail’s main focus over the next few months will be to advance its service resumption plan within prescribed health and safety requirements in order to get its employees back to work as soon as possible.
This article first appeared on www.globalrailwayreview.com
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