According to index.hu, the Budapest Transport Privately Held Corporation’s (BKV) human strategy for 2017-2020 outlines a dramatic situation. In the next years, the company will have to solve the replacement of 1000 workers, while the offered salaries are lower than at any other places in Hungary, not to mention abroad. Workers are desperate, trade unions are determined: if there won’t be a 30% rise in salaries, a strike was to come soon.
“We’ll have to solve the replacement of around 1000 people quitting their jobs in the upcoming years” sates BKV’s human strategy for 2017-2020. According to the study, 452 drivers (out of which 353 were bus drivers), 248 skilled workers and 26 engineers left the company last year.
There’s a shortage of these professions, which evolved due to the growing competition that offers higher salaries and is in need of professionals. Workers quitting BKV can earn 30-50% more in other places, like public sphere corporations. So the main goal of the strategy is “to adapt incomes to market conditions”.
This is exactly what trade unions feel as well. Attila Gulyás, the president of VTDSZSZ, one of the biggest BKV trade unions, said that workers were very desperate. So they demand a 30% rise of salary all together in the upcoming three years. They are so serious about this; if the demand is not fulfilled until the end of March, they’ll start a strike.
MÁV and Volán have already fulfilled salary demands, so they have been attractive options for BKV workers. BKV can’t seem to find skilled workers and engineers, while career entrants only laugh at the starting salary. Many workers say that they’ll only stay if their demand gets fulfilled. But it might not even be enough. And if people keep on leaving, the company will crash.
And it’s not just Hungarian competition that poses a danger to BKV. The news about the Vienna public transport company, Wiener Linien looking for bus drivers for the replacement buses on U4 metro line has spread quite quickly among Hungarian bus drivers. This would mean a 3-4 year long contract, a 2600 euro/month salary (which is three times more than what they receive in Hungary) and even accommodation in some cases. People think that, if BKV can’t solve the payment problem now, many bus drivers will leave to Vienna.
This is a quite acute problem for BKV, because the biggest challenge of the near future is going to be the replacement of metro line 3 due to the reconstruction works. The filling of the amount of drivers and repairmen necessary for the 150 buses will probably cause some troubles.
The number of drivers was 2412 in December, 2016. This is enough to supply the basic capacity, but metro replacement buses in the second half of 2017 will need at least 2500-2600 drivers during the renovation of the southern section, and 2700-2750 during the cut-off of both the southern and northern sections. So the question is: who will drive the replacement buses if Hungarian drivers choose to work in Vienna for a three times bigger salary?
Regarding the replacement buses in Vienna, index.hu contacted Wiener Linien. They found out that the reconstruction of the U4 metro has been going on since 2014. The western section was under renovation in last January, when replacement buses were operated by a private company. The buses circulated every three minutes and solved the problem quite well.
Reconstruction works are constant on the line of metro 4 and in its neighbourhood, however, the majority of the processes don’t affect public transport. The next bigger section cut-off, that will need replacement buses, is only planned for 2019.
Photo: MTI, www.facebook.com/BKK