Railway sector grows and puts employment “on-rails”

The railway development that occurs in Brazil since the privatization of the grid in 1997, employed more than 22,000 people until last year, an increase of 126% in the period. This year, the forecast is that railways will close 2010 with an expansion magnification of 6 thousand workers in their staff, which would grow from 39 thousand in 2009 to 45 thousand.

In the industry, which suffered a fall during the global crisis of 2008, employment levels go back to pre-crisis, 13 thousand people.

The good news is that this growth will continue, consistently and over a long period, forecasts the coordinator of the committee of people from the National Association of Railway Transporters (ANTF) and the Human Resources Manager of Trans-northeastern, Tarcísio Jaco Horn. We will have a lower, but stable, industrial growth, says the vice president of the Interstate Trade Union of the Railway and Roadway Materials and Equipment Industry (Simefre), Luiz Fernando Ferrari.

For 2011, there is prediction of new hires in all railways and expansion to the industry staff. We have already contracted the fabrication of 5,000 wagons next year, against 3,300 this year. The same applies to locomotives and passenger cars, says the chairman of the Railway Industry Association (Abifer), Vicente Abate.

Qualification: More than the difficulty in finding labor, railroads and industries complain of lack of qualification. There are no drivers, mechanics, electricians and technicians with knowledge of the industry, says Horn. To mitigate the problem the railways joined the Senai, for implementing an education program. The total demand is 13,715 people in three years. This represents over 30% of staff currently employed, says the committee’s secretary, Ana Paula Gadotti Franco.

In addition, there are vacancies to fill immediately. ALL alone, which operates the grid of 8 States will hire 3.3 thousand workers in 2011. We hire professionals with no experience and we give the training here, explains the human resources manager of the railway, Rodrigo Paupitz.

The vacancies are in operational jobs of driver, mechanic, electrician, railway technician and railroad maintainer. High school grade is required.

The driver is hired as a production operator goes through training and will work in the yard as a helper. He stays one year in that job, undergoes new training and only than he becomes a driver, he says.

In general, this system is repeated in all railroads, as well as in industry. We need welders and mainly engineers, says the marketing manager of GE Transportation, Rodrigo Gabizo. Based in Contagem (Minas Gerais State), GE has contracts to build 120 new locomotives, which will require it to increase its staff from 400 employees to 500 by the end of 2011.

Horn believes the ANTF has addressed a solution to the lack of base and operational professionals’ qualification in the sector. But, for strategic jobs, we still remain without solution, he says.  The idea is to create, with help from the Ministry of Education, a graduation course in railway engineering.

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