Child labor alleged at PostNL subcontractors in Belgium; Postal service denies
Kids too young to work are still working for PostNL Belgium, journalists found in an investigation for Belgian media VTM Nieuws and Het Laatste Nieuws. According to them, four months after an initial undercover report, the postal and parcel company has still not tackled abuses at its Belgian subcontractors.
A 13-year-old boy told the investigators that he works for the postal company two to three days a week for 5 euros per hour. The journalists caught a subcontractor employing several boys too young to work. He also allegedly pressured them to lie. A former subcontractor told the journalists that PostNL was aware of the practices.
PostNL denied the allegations to Belgian media. "These are serious allegations that we ourselves have not identified during our daily checks and extensive investigations," the company said. "We work according to the rules and stand for good and social working conditions for everyone who works for us."
The Belgian Minister Petra De Sutter (Post) also responded: "I want to be careful, and I don't know if it's a widespread problem, but if these images really show what I saw, then we need to address this with multiple MInisters." De Sutter also indicated that she wants to set up a task force to prevent minors from being deployed in the postal and parcel sector.
PostNL recently came under fire in Belgium for alleged abuses. The police recently arrested a few directors of PostNL Belgium, including the CEO of the Belgian branch, after raiding three PostNL depots. They are no longer in custody but are still suspected of leading a criminal organization. They are also accused of human trafficking and forgery. The Belgian authorities have been investigating PostNL for some time because of, among other things, alleged abuses related to undeclared work and part-time work.
Reporting by ANP.