Make April 1 deadline for solving postal worker conflict: advice

Employers and unions should have until April 1 to agree how to ensure most postal delivery workers have a proper contract by January 2014, the government’s advisor on the postal conflict said on Tuesday.

Ruud Vreeman was asked to come up with a way of ending the conflict between unions, TNT Post and new budget delivery firms such as Sandd over pay and working conditions.
Most delivery workers for the budget mail firms are paid for each item of post they deliver and are not covered for holidays, sick pay or pensions.

When the postal market was fully liberalised, the new companies agreed to make sure most of their staff got proper contracts. But they have now gone to court, arguing it is too expensive to employ staff.
TNT, which includes the former state-owned postal firm, argues this amounts to unfair competition.
80% target
A target of 80% of workers on a proper contract would be one option, Veerman said.
If no agreement is reached, the government should get tough on new entrants to the postal delivery market, Vreeman said.
He also recommends setting up a special fund to help companies pay for the changeover.
Junior economic affairs minister Henk Bleker said he is positive about Veerman’s recommendations. ‘It is focused on reaching a sustainable solution for the entire sector,’ he told news agency ANP.
Social affairs minister Henk Kamp called on all sides in the dispute to get round the table as soon as possible.

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