Spindelegger wants to reform state railways

Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger of the conservative People's Party (ÖVP) is calling for reforms within the state railways (ÖBB), saying it is the main cost driver for the budget.

Spindelegger wants to reform state railways
Michael Spindelegger. Photo: APA/OLIVIER HOSLET

It would be necessary to introduce a new public sector employment law to increase the average retirement age for ÖBB employees, Spindelegger said on Monday at a press conference with Minister of Agriculture Andrae Rupprechter.

Spindelegger referred to the tight budget situation and emphasized that about €5.6 billion would be invested into the state railways in 2014. Furthermore he said that investment into ÖBB infrastructure would lead to an increase of public debt of about €10 billion.

However, Spindelegger committed himself to further investment in railways infrastructure, but said that an "efficient" resource use was necessary.

He added that there was an urgent need to increase the average retirement age from 53.9 years within the ÖBB at least to 60.5 years – which is the average age within the federal service.

Rupprechter said it was not about bashing the ÖBB, but rather about exploiting the potential for reform.

He suggested selling power plants owned by the ÖBB – which would result in savings of around €1 billion.

However, three major planned tunnel projects were out of question, he added.

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