Unions representing postal workers have issued a strike notice of industrial action from 7 to 12 November, with a warning that the action could be extended. The complaint by unions, who are acting in concert on this action, centres on cuts made by Bpost to services, and the increasing workload on employees, including forcing mail carriers to carry more mail on longer routes.
“Our customers and the people in general will feel the impact of this action,” commented Koen Van Gerven, CEO of Bpost, on the unions’ unwillingness to negotiate.
“There are always not enough colleagues,” said union representative Jean-Pierre Nyns. “It is not out of the ordinary for one neighbourhood to go a whole week without seeing a mail carrier, because we don’t have the people. Our members are then confronted by justifiably angry citizens.”
The last straw, apparently, came on Monday, when speaking directly to employees, Van Gerven announced a new measure – employees will no longer be able to choose their annual leave periods, but will take what is ordered.
“After that communication is was obvious that he is not prepared to deal constructively with the last warning issued by the common union front,” Nyns said. “This communication did nothing but add fuel to the fire.”
The five day strike will hit various departments separately, beginning with sorting offices, transport and distribution. Then follows central services, the call centre and individual mail carriers. Finally, on the last day, the logistics service will down tools.