Postal services in flux after deregulation

National postal services across Europe have been cutting their workforces as they restructure operations to cope with full liberalisation of the EU market. In July, for example, Romania’s national postal service Posta Romana announced plans to cut its workforce of 33,000 by 3,650. Hungary’s Magyar Posta shed 875 jobs in the first quarter of 2013 through a process of mutual agreement with employees.

Both countries are in the group of 11 Member States that were permitted to postpone liberalisation for two years until 2013; the other 16 Member States opened their markets by the end of 2010.

Postal services in this latter group are suffering too, however; Italy’s Poste Italiane last year cut 1,000 jobs with the closure of 83 branches in Lombardy. This is part of a country-wide restructuring plan, yet to be rolled out, that trade unions say will see the loss of 10,000 jobs.

Private sector optimism

Meanwhile, private postal services are taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the single postal market and expanding operations. In September, Dutch company TNT Post announced it would create 1,000 new jobs as part of its UK rollout of services in Manchester, and Total Post, a young Romanian company, created 180 jobs earlier in the year to support the expansion of its network.

The latest ERM quarterly examines recent restructuring in the postal sector. It also includes the regular items on quarterly job losses and gains in European labour markets. It reports that the manufacturing sector saw the greatest number of job gains and job losses during the third quarter of this year, although losses were greater than gains.

Employment is forecast to continue falling in the EU; however, the quarterly notes that employers’ hiring intentions appear to be improving in some sectors, such as manufacturing, services and construction.

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