The government has decided to scrap the full liberalisation of the postal delivery market, just three weeks before the market was due to be opened up.
Junior economic affairs minister Frank Heemskerk told MPs on Thursday that there are still too many ‘unclear aspects’ for full liberalisation to go ahead on January 1, 2008 as planned.
While much of the postal delivery market is already open to competition, TNT still has the monopoly on letters weighing under 50 grams.
In particular, Heemskerk said, more information is needed about the liberalisation process in neighbouring Germany where the government has announced plans to introduce a minimum wage for delivery workers as pay rates come under pressure.
TNT has already ditched plans to invest in Germany and called the measure protectionism.
In the Netherlands too, unions have called for more guarantees for postal workers. They claim that companies such as Sandd and Selektmail (which compete with TNT in the heavier mail sector) treat delivery staff as freelancers and do not provide them with pensions, sick pay or holiday rights.
Talks between unions and delivery firms have stalled on a proper pay structure, news agency ANP says.
Heemskerk said he has always made it clear that full competition in the sector would be introduced with great care. ‘We cannot do that at present so we must delay,’ he told ANP.
The junior minister said he hopes to have a better idea of when liberalisation can go ahead by the middle of next year.