Package deliverers taking PostNL to court over lower rates
The interest association for subcontractors of package deliverers BVPD is taking PostNL to court. According to the association, PostNL increased its rates for web shops during this crazy busy month, but lowered the rate that goes to package deliverers. BVPD believes the rates for deliverers should increase. PostNL says it can give a lower rate because efficiency increases with larger volumes, NOS reports.
"PostNL increased the prices for parcels at web shops by about 25 cents each," Ruud Wassenaar of the BVPD said to NOS. "That is understandable, because they incur more costs. But we - as subcontractors - also incur more costs. We don't get any extra money for that."
PostNL delivery workers are employed as freelancers or via a subcontractor. The latter means that PostNL hires companies to do its deliveries, and these companies employ their own delivery workers.
According to the BVPD, the problem lies in how PostNL calculates the tariff costs. The postal service does this based on reference weeks, choosing eight weeks to determine how many deliveries were done on average. "This year they chose three weeks of the holiday season peak of 2019, three weeks of corona peak activity, and two somewhat quieter weeks."
According to PostNL, the efficiency of delivery drivers increased significantly over the past years as volume increased. A few years ago they delivered five parcels to five different addresses on one street, for example. Now it's 15 parcels per street, multiple of which go to the same address. Delivery addresses are therefore closer together, and with people working from home, the number of parcels per home increased. So the average delivery time went down, and efficiency went up. And the rates were adjusted accordingly, according to PostNL.
But BVPD argues that efficiency did not increase as much as PostNL claims. The association calculated the average deliveries between September 2019 and September 2020 and came to 20 percent less deliveries, and therefore less efficiency, than PostNL got looking at eight weeks, six of which were extremely busy. "That means the rates are calculated based on a much larger size than the average, and our deliverers earn less as a result."
A spokesperson for PostNL told NOS that they review the rates every year and discuss them with the involved parties. The deliverers employed by PostNL as freelancers are paid according to the collective bargaining agreement.