PostNL's Sandd takeover to result in thousands of job losses: report

On February 1st, Sandd will merge with PostNL and no longer exist. This acquisition will lead to a great deal of lost jobs - it is already clear that less than half of the around 16 thousand Sandd employees are guaranteed a job at PostNL, NOS reports based on information from the Bond van Post Personeel and conversations with Sandd employees. At the same time, there are plenty of open vacancies at PostNL, according to the broadcaster.

The largest group of Sandd employees consists of around 10,400 delivery staff. They all received an offer to work at PostNL. But according to the broadcaster, a large proportion of the deliverers refused that offer for various reasons. Some told the broadcaster that the PostNL offer puts them in a worse financial position. Others were offered too many or too few hours. 

Another reason to refuse the job offer, is the days PostNL wants the deliverers to work. Sandd delivery staff currently work mainly on Tuesdays and Fridays. PostNL also delivers on other days, including Saturdays. The completely different working method is also a problem. Sandd deliverers get their mail at home and can deliver it between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. At PostNL, there is much less freedom, which will disrupt the lives of some Sandd workers. For example, those with children who can only work during school hours. 

The second group hit hard by Sandd's acquisition, is the postal company's around 1,800 support staff - drivers, office workers, and mail sorters. This group was given the opportunity to apply for jobs at PostNL with priority, but this will only result in a job for a small minority, according to NOS. A total of 500 Sandd staff work at the head office in Apeldoorn and the nearby sorting center. PostNL does not have a sorting center in that region, and is therefore not looking for sorters there. Office workers will have to travel to PostNL's head office in The Hague - too far for many. Several support staff also told NOS that the PostNL offers involved less money and hours than they get now.

Another reason for not accepting the PostNL offer, is that the mail company is offering temporary contracts. "If someone accepts this and next year the contract is not renewed, such a person loses his transition compensation," Etienne Haneveld of trade union FNV said to the broadcaster.

And then there's a group of 3,450 people who work for Sandd franchisees - postal companies that are totally or largely dependent on Sandd post. According to NOS, there are no agreements with PostNL for these companies yet, and the post flow from Sandd will dry up on February 1st. There is also no social plan for this group. 

"It is a difficult puzzle, we try to make a suitable offer for everyone," a spokesperson for PostNL said to the broadcaster. The company would not say how many Sandd employees have been hired so far. "We do not provide intermediate figures, because there are still plenty of conversations in progress."

At the end of September last year, State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs gave the green light for PostNL to acquire Sandd, despite advice from the Dutch authority on consumers and markets ACM not to allow the takeover. This is the first time ever that the regulator was ignored on such a matter, according to NOS. In a letter to parliament, Keijzer stressed the need for the takeover. "Permission has been granted to ensure that mail delivery remains affordable, available and reliable in a sharply shrinking market," she said.