PostNL’s letter services have plummeted far below the legal requirement for next (working) day delivery and the company is blaming a lack of postmen and women.
PostNL, which delivers some seven million letters a day, only managed to achieve next-day delivery 82% of the time in the last few months of 2023. The average for the whole year is 88%, also well below the legal requirement of 95%.
“We did warn this was going to happen,” PostNL director Sipke Spoelstra told broadcaster NOS. “The main cause is the lack of delivery staff. It’s not a generalised problem but in certain places we are badly understaffed,” he said.
Spoelstra said the problem is most pressing in the south of the country and several big cities.
In 2019 PostNL, which has the legal task of guaranteeing national postal services as a basic amenity, also failed the legal requirement but only by one percentage point. It was nevertheless fined €2 million by the Dutch consumer authority ACM, which said it is “keeping an eye on the percentages”.
Last summer, the PostNL management said it wanted to talk about less stringent requirements with the new government but according to union CNV official Daniëlle Woestenberg, PostNL would do better to organise its service more efficiently, without cutting back on delivery points.
The delays over the last few months have also hit the delivery of business-related mail and funeral cards, which is prioritised over regular mail.
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