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Rail Cargo Hungaria management, unions reach agreement

The management of Austrian-owned Rail Cargo Hungaria agreed with unions to scale down job cuts, narrowly averting a strike, the negotiating parties told MTI on Thursday.

Rail Cargo Hungaria said in October it wanted to lay off 460 of its staff next year. The company's current headcount is 3,028.

Under the agreement reached with unions, Rail Cargo Hungaria will reduce the size of layoffs planned for 2011.

Christian Kern, CEO of Austrian State Railway (ÖBB), which bought Rail Cargo Hungaria's successor, MÁV Cargo, in 2008, said in interviews published in the Austrian press in October that the rail freight company could close 2010 with a loss of €33 million. Mr Kern said there was "no alternative" to laying off 460 people at RCH, adding this was just "a first step" if the Hungarian government stands by its plan to raise track usage fees.

Hungary's National Development Ministry said in September that planned layoffs at Rail Cargo Hungaria were unjustified. (MTI-ECONEWS)