Over 3,500 workers with the CFR national railway authority, or 6 per cent of the three companies’ work force, will be given the slip in 2009, Constantin Axinia, Railway Issues Sub-secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, said yesterday, whereas unionists say a total of 12,000 employees will be axed. ‘Of all the CFR employees, about 6 per cent, or 3,494, will be sent home and 287 employees have already got retirement decisions. How they come out with the 12,000 figure we don’t know, yet we aim at downsizing the railway and cutting down on salary expenditures by about 20 per cent,’ Agerpres quoted Axinia as saying. In a first stage, the ministry proposed that the salary fund should be reduced by up to 20 per cent through a drastic personnel reduction, so that yet another 12,000 employees are to lose their jobs. However, the Transport Ministry (MT) officials are ‘surprised’ that railway workers are set to take to the streets to protest today, saying they conveyed to workers alternatives for making the CFR operate more efficiently. Railway workers are attending a rally before the MT headquarters, today, 10.30 am to 2:00 pm, followed by a march to the government building, actions green lighted by the City Hall for an attendance of roughly 10,000 people.