LONDON Jan 15 South West Trains, run by train
operator Stagecoach Group (SGC.L), said on Thursday it was to
axe 480 jobs including managerial staff, blaming an expected
fall in passenger numbers because of the economic downturn.
SWT, which runs services between London's Waterloo station
and southwest England, said the decision followed a review of
its cost base and would be subject to consultation with staff.
Managerial and administrative posts will be among those cut
but train drivers, guards and other frontline maintenance staff
will be unaffected. The cuts would not affect services, the
"Taking into account existing vacancies and posts which have
been withdrawn, this will mean the actual number of people
leaving the company will be around 200," SWT said in a
"We hope to achieve some of this through natural turnover or
voluntary redundancy. However, we cannot rule out compulsory
When it announced its first-half results in December,
Stagecoach warned of a potential slowdown in its UK train
business due to the economic impact on London commuters,
prompting a sharp fall in its share price.
Despite a 24 percent rise in half-year profit, the company
defended a decision to raise fares in January on its SWT
services by above the rate of inflation, saying its costs had
also risen above inflation.
Rail union RMT vowed to fight any compulsory job losses with
"every means at its disposal", saying Stagecoach had recently
increased shareholder dividends by 33 percent.
"These privateers are supposed to be running a public
service, but as soon as their massive profits come under threat
the first people to suffer are the people who actually do the
work," said RMT General Secretary Bob Crow.
"There is no way that SWT can cut these jobs without
affecting the quality of service that passengers receive and
putting a greater burden on the workforce that remains."
On Tuesday, the government said it had vetoed plans by SWT
to cut ticket office opening hours at 114 stations because they
were not in passengers interests.
Ministers said it could only reduce opening times at those
which have fewer than 12 sales an hour.
(Reporting by Michael Holden)