All postal firms must have at least 80% of their delivery workers on permanent contracts by the end of the year or face hefty fines, under a deadline imposed by the government on Thursday.
The decision ends 10 years of wrangling over the status of mail delivery workers, many of whom have been hired as freelancers on highly restrictive contracts. Being taken on as employees entitles them to rights such as holiday and sick pay, insurance against incapacity and a company pension.
The Authority for Consumers and Markets will monitor the situation and impose fines if they fail to fulfil the quota, economics minister Mona Keijzer told parliament.
Two years ago the largest delivery firm, PostNL,was ordered by a court to take on all its freelance workers as employees. Since then it has been undercut by competitors who have been able to deliver mail for 40% less, partly by saving on staff overheads.
In 2008 Sandd and SelektMail, two of the main competitors to PostNL, promised the government that they would meet the 80% target within three and a half years. But nine years later unions estimate that only around half Sandd’s 20,000 deliverers were under contract.
Keijzer said that the companies had had enough time to implement the agreement. ‘Postal workers are at the bottom of the labour market. It is a priority or this government to ensure these groups have adequate protection.’