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Job security no longer ensured; the client is king for those who advocate the liberalisation of the postal sector

Maastricht (The Netherlands), 01.06.2007

Monday 4 June 2007

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On the eve of the final decision taking in the European Parliament and the European Commission on the European postal directive, Eurofedop set up an action in Maastricht.

Eurofedop seriously worries about the position of the workers once the postal market will be completely liberalised. The working conditions, fair competition and the universal service are under serious threat.

With a view to the upcoming discussions and voting in the European Parliament, as well as the postal action planned for 6th June, Eurofedop explained once more its points of view and handed over a resolution with its demands to Mr Mathieu Grosch, MEP, on 1st June.

During the European conference that was organised by the BVPP, Dutch trade union for personnel of the postal sector, in Maastricht, the participants were confronted with the following thesis : "The liberalisation of the postal market has only caused losers ?!". Mr Nieuwenhoven, director social affairs VNO NCW (employers organisation), spoke very positively about liberalisation. "Job security has to make way for work security and there is no question at all of losers, considering the improvement of the situation for the client/customer". Mr Hessels, member of the Dutch House of Representatives, CDA (Christian Democrats), spoke critically about the role played by the government in the discussion on working conditions. This discussion should take place between the employers and the workers only, according to Mr Hessels. In this, he differs from his Social Democratic colleagues who favour a role played by the government when the social component is concerned (e.g. with regard to minimum wages). The Dutch postal company TNT was also represented. Its spokesman Mr Dietz spoke enthusiastically about the mission and operation of TNT.

Obviously, he too did not agree with the thesis submitted. "Liberalisation namely leads to innovation and, finally, this will keep the postal market healthy, monopolies are not desirable", he indicated. To the question how many dismissals the ’efficiency measures’ will cause, Mr Dietz replied that the discussion on employment and working conditions is a very complicated and sensitive discussion. The various presentations were followed by an interesting discussion between the panel members and the trade union delegates. Once more it became clear that, to the speakers, the client comes first, while the trade unions are in the first place concerned about the workers. The trade unions also made it clear that they do not blindly oppose liberalisation and that they are very well aware of the world that is changing. Willi Russ, president of the DPVKOM (Germany), summarised it as follows : "Competition yes, but not at the expense of the worker".

Finally, Mr Grosch spoke to the congress participants in his function as member of the European Parliament and member of the committee Transport and Tourism. He explained that the European Parliament has shown its teeth during the debate on the services directive. And, during the discussion on the postal directive, has done the same. Parliament does not automatically swallow all the Commission proposes.

Further developments

On 4th June, a debate took place in the Transport Committee of the European Parliament. Please find a report of this meeting in annex. On 18th June, the Transport committee will vote on the report. The report will then be discussed by the plenary session in Strassburg in July. N.B. We give this date with reservation. 600 amendments have been introduced to the report, so, the procedure may fairly easily be delayed.

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