The Russian Railways, which is the largest employer in Russia, has put 27% of its employees on shortened workweeks. The Russian Railways’ President Vladimir Yakunin announced this, the Kommersant publication reports.

The Russian Railways employs more than 1 million people, meaning that about 300,000 people will be on shortened workweeks.

According to Yakunin, the company faced the choice of laying off employees or finding another acceptable form of employment for them because of the current economic situation in the country and a reduction of its volume of operations. "In order not to lose the professional staff, we decided to go the way of the shortened workweek. This is a formula that is more favorable than an unpaid leave," Yakunin said on Russian Railways’ television channel.

The head of the company added that the employees that were put on shortened workweeks were mostly employees "who are not engaged in transportation and security” services. A final decision on the number of workers that will be on shortened workweeks in 2014 has not yet been made.

As reported, Yakunin recently said that the Russian Railways expected direct losses of RUB 70-73 billion (USD 2.1-2.2 billion) as a result of the freezing of freight tariffs in 2014. The aggregate negative effect, considering the general economic slowdown and the company’s reduced operating volume, is estimated at RUB 91-93 billion (USD 2.7-2.8 billion).