No future for young workers in the postal sector?

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The European Commission promised that liberalisation of the postal sector would generate jobs. But what kind of jobs have been created?

The postal sector faces many challenges. More and more European citizens communicate via email or the internet. ‘E-substitution’ is the key world, which has resulted in decreasing letter volumes. At the same time, the significant automatisation process in post is replacing sorting by hand with sorting by machines, and ‘optimising’ delivery routes making post-men and -women traceable in every step he/she takes. Finally, in times of crisis, many companies save costs by reducing their advertising or other posted communications.

In the past, young people started in a postal company, learnt the business, spent their whole life in the same company with some career development, and then retired. These times are over. To be more competitive, postal companies have redefines post-men and -women as unskilled mail deliverers. For young people, this means bad paid temporary part-time jobs without career prospects or training. In particular, the lack of social security in the parcel sector makes the sector increasingly unattractive for young people. Often deliverers are self-employed and fall out of any social or working time regulation. Pay is often calculated by piece and the working time in the seconds it may take to deliver a parcel or letter. In spite of this, post-men and -women have a high degree of responsibility in their jobs, driving vehicles on public roads, delivering often highly-valued parcels, and making contact with customers.

The back2ourfuture campaign demands quality jobs for quality service in the postal sector. We believe that young people need job prospects for the future in all sectors, including in the postal service industry. This sector has particular potential since e-commerce is booming and customers want to have their parcels delivered securely, undamaged and as quickly as possible. This presents a huge opportunity to create new high quality jobs for young people. But these jobs must come with rights and training. It is not enough to drive a small lorry and be able to read addresses; this is a highly physically demanding job that comes with a lot of stress. The parcel deliverer is often the only person that an e-commerce customer has contact with and therefore represents the company. For that reason, those wishing to take advantage of e-commerce should invest in young people and their training to give the sector more value and to boost the quality and security of e-commerce delivery.

More information
Uni Europa: Cornelia Broos +32 (0)476 25 76 50 or cornelia.broos@uniglobalunion.org

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