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BLS train group to shelve 170 jobs by 2023

BLS train group to shelve 170 jobs by 2023

A BLS train in Kandersteg station in the Bernese Oberland region. (© Keystone /

The BLS train company, which operates several routes in the regions around Bern, is to cut some 170 positions over the coming four years, for reasons of efficiency and automation.

In a move criticized on Thursday by rail unions, BLS announced the cuts as part of planned efficiency gains that aim to save between CHF50-60 million ($49.8-59.2 million) by 2023.

Citing cost pressures and demanding clients, BLS said in a press statement (German)external link that a large number of business processes would be simplified or automated; disruption will therefore mostly impact on support staff and management.

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Processes linked to purchasing, planning, and notably logistics were singled out for improvement by the company, which currently employs some 3,000 staff. A total of CHF85 million will be spent on new IT systems that can automate such tasks, BLS said.

Of the 170 jobs, a maximum of 45 are set to be direct redundancies; the others will be made up from retirements and natural departures.

Travellers using BLS trains – which operates on lines stretching from Neuchâtel in western Switzerland to Brigexternal link, further south in canton Valais – are set to enjoy a more personalised interaction with the company in the future, as it also plans to bundle together its various offers into an app and an online shop.

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