The Dutch postal service, Post NL, has today (Friday) rejected the bid by the Belgian postal service, bpost. PostNL announced this today (Friday). Jacques Lespagnard, from the trade union CGSP (working within the union’s section serving postal service interests), said that this is good news from a social point of view “but from an economic standpoint hundreds of jobs will disappear.”
“The rejection of the offer is no surprise,” Jacques Lespagnard said, referring to the fairly unenthusiastic reactions of the Dutch Prime Minister and his Minister for Economic Affairs.
As PostNL is independent, this was a decision made solely by the Board of Directors. As indicated above, it rejected the offer today.
Overall, the trade union representative has the sense that this is good news.
This is because the takeover of PostNL, might have meant the privatisation of the Belgian postal service.
The Belgian state, currently the main shareholder with 51% of the overall holding, may have then chosen to sell some of its shares.
The CGSP section specialising in serving postal service interests, had actually already given notice of strike action to dispute the potential takeover.
As the offer has been rejected, the notice will not now have effect, but the trade union representative remains cautious.
He maintains, “There is no doubt in my mind that bpost will try to find alternatives. It is seeking to privatise, with government support (whether or not that support is federal).”
The Socialist trade union representative states, “I am under no illusion. The government continues to look for a solution to get rid of a state-owned company,” whilst the latter makes money and its economic model works.
Marc De Mulder, of SLFP Poste (another trade union representing the industry), shares the same opinion, “The government has confirmed its will to privatise the postal service. Although the rejection of the offer is set in stone, we are now in unchartered waters, as the postal service will be privatised in any event.”
He says, the rejection of PostNL’s offer is not necessarily good news. He, in particular, fears that PostNL will become a competitor for the Belgian postal service, with the Dutch service wanting to extend its Belgian market.
He concludes by stressing lastly, “Up until now, the Belgian postal service was desirous of taking over the Dutch postal service. The danger now is that, in time, the Belgian postal service itself will be acquired by a third party.”