The operator had already laid off 700 employees, as passenger numbers dropped by more than 80% due to the coronavirus pandemic. Revenue has also dropped by up to 90%.

“Without customers and ticket revenue, the loss of revenue is so great that we see ourselves having to lose more and more employees,” says Vy CEO, Mr Geir Isaksen.

More than 1100 of Vy’s 9500 employees have now been fully or partially laid off, with around 900 drivers also taking a pay cut. This includes fully laying-off all conductors, while some administrative staff are still only partially laid off.

“Vy has an important social mission and will still provide an offer to those who must travel,” Isaksen says. “But in a situation like this, when ticket revenue stops completely, we must do what we can to reduce our own costs. That is why we are now sending layoff notice to more than 400 employees who will be laid off in whole, or in part, from mid-April.”

Although funding has been made available to the transport industry in Norway, Vy says its financial situation is still very demanding and the measures to reduce costs were agreed following discussions with trade unions.

“We have today sent layoff notices to more than 400 employees in Vy Trains and in the administrative division in Vy,” Isaksen says. “The notified layoffs include conductors and administrative staff.”

An agreement has also been signed with the Norwegian Locomotive Driver Association, with all staff taking a 15% pay cut, along with a 15% reduction in duties.

“Our train offer has been greatly reduced and there are far fewer commuter departures, night trains are cancelled, and there are fewer departures on regional trains during the day,” Isaksen says. “We still maintain an offer that meets the social mission we have, but does not rule out that there will be further adjustments to the offer in the future if the situation persists.

“Layoffs are a tool with significant negative consequences for the individual. We hope that we will soon return to a more normal operating situation where many can again travel collectively, so that everyone can return to work. At the same time, we must be prepared that it will take longer than we like before the effects of the corona crisis are gone.”