According to the newspaper, the company is now trying to lure back train drivers and stewards from their summer holidays in order to fill gaps in the schedule, with union representatives in the company telling the newspaper that the situation is “extremely tight”.
“Anyone who is off has their mobile pinging the whole time as SJ is looking for people to man trains,” one train driver who is on parental leave told Arbetet. “It’s lucky you can turn off your work phone.”
He said staff were often missing with just one day to go until trains are due to depart, pushing SJ timetablers to work frantically to fill spots.
“We are doing everything we can to avoid needing to cancel departures at short notice,” Martina Nord, a press spokesperson for SJ, told the newspaper. “It’s impossible to say right now whether departures will eventually need to be cancelled.”
The company is paying an extra monthly salary to train drivers and stewards who are willing to move their whole summer holiday to another time of year, a provision agreed as part of its collective bargaining agreement.
In addition, the company is bringing in a special summer bonus for anyone who agrees to work days when they should have been on holiday.
SJ is facing a similar situation to that of Swedish airport operator Swedavia: it stopped recruiting during the pandemic when the number of people travelling fell dramatically and is now struggling to staff up as travel resumes.