The Dutch authority on consumers and markets ACM is blocking PostNL's planned takeover of Sandd. The takeover would result in a monopoly on the Dutch postal market and that could lead to significant price increases, the regulator said on Thursday.
The police, Dutch mayors and various large companies issued a joint call on the Dutch government to ban firecrackers and rockets. They want to uphold the tradition of lighting your own fireworks over New Year's, but only with "safe decorative fireworks", they said in a full-page advertisement that will soon appear in national newspapers, RTL Nieuws reports.
PostNL's package delivery is not up to standard, according to consumers' association Consumentenbond. Consumers have been complaining about PostNL for years. "No other company causes as many complaints as PostNL and that has to change", the association said on Tuesday, ANP reports.
PostNL is taking over competitor Sandd, the two companies announced at the presentation of PostNL's annual figures on Monday. Last year the two companies indicated that they are planning a merge, because the postal market is shrinking due to digitization, the Telegraaf reports.
Over the past few years, PostNL and Sandd have been fighting each other for large business contracts.
PostNL will takeover Sandd's 19 thousand employees and 23 locations. The expectation is that the acquisition will be completed after the summer.
Trade union FNV is not allowed to organize any strikes at PostNL in the coming weeks, the court in The Hague ruled in summary proceedings filed by the Dutch postal service, NOS reports.
PostNL argued that strikes during the busy Christmas period would cause "disproportionate damage and risks". Strikes would result in millions of euros of damages and severely affect customers waiting for mail and parcels, according to the company.
PostNL is going to court to try and ban a Christmas strike announced by trade union FNV. The Dutch postal service believes that a strike in the Christmas period - PostNL's busiest period of the year - will cause disproportionate damage to customers and PostNL itself, AD reports.
In the run-up to Pakjesavond, PostNL processed a record number of around 12 million parcels in its distribution centers. Last year just under 10 million parcels were processed between Black Friday and December 4th, NU.nl reports.
According to PostNL, this figure was higher than expected, thanks to the increasing popularity of doing Sinterklaas shopping online. Black Friday and Cyber Monday were also busier than ever. The Dutch postal service is preparing for a similarly busy Christmas period.
PostNL was flooded with complaints in the run-up to Pakjesavond on Tuesday. Hundreds of customers were worried that their Sinterklaas gifts would not arrive on time, AD reports.
The fact that Sinterklaas is increasingly buying his gifts online has its disadvantages. Online shops, sorting centers, and package deliverers were overflowing with packages this past week, according to the newspaper.
Criminals abuse PostNL's parcel delivery system. The network of subcontracted package delivers are misused by criminals for things like drug transports and money laundering, Financieele Dagblad reports.
In 2014 PostNL CEO Herna Verhagen was warned about the vulnerability of courier- and parcel delivery companies, according to the newspaper. These businesses are vulnerable to threats, intimidation, money laundering, drug trafficking and and bribery, FD writes.
PostNL asked employees of its head office to help deliver post this month, because the company is dealing with a shortage in postmen. In total some 500 head office workers were asked to spend one day delivering post in September, PostNL confirmed to ANP.
An Amsterdam resident complaining about a PostNL delivery van standing on his street with the engine running, got a snarky reply from the postal service's customer care department. The Amsterdam man was advised to rather move to the countryside.
"Do you not find it bad that you are poisoning the still developing lungs of our 1-year-old son several times a day with diesel vapors?" Amsterdam resident Vikaash Mahabir asked PostNL on Twitter on Wednesday night. "Everything for the profit margin or are you going to replace these poison buses with non toxic examples?"
Many Dutch companies do not deal carefully with their customers' data, consumers association Consumentenbond concludes after studying five large companies in different industries. Even companies that you won't expect collect data on a large scale to sell to third parties, the association warns, BNR reports.
Consumentenbond looked at PostNL, Prenatal, Sanoma, Ticketmaster and Zalando. They were more or less randomly chosen, which means they are not necessarily the worst in the market when it comes to handling customer data.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday turned out to be very busy days for Dutch online stores, with Bol.com, Coolblue and Mediamarkt all reporting record breaking numbers in visitors and sales. PostNL warns that there may be some delay in delivering packages.
"Over the past days there were many extra online orders. We are delivering most packages today. For a small part of the packages, we expect a delay. We will deliver those packages tomorrow", the Dutch postal service wrote on its site on Tuesday.
The Dutch national women's football team was celebrated and honored for their European Championship victory in Utrecht on Monday evening. Some 12 thousand fans cheered the Oranje Lionesses as they sailed over the Stadsbuitengracht and then took the stage in Lepelunburg Park for the official ceremony, NU.nl reports.
PostNL and AliExpress made a deal in which the Dutch postal service will deliver a large part of the Chinese internet marketplace's packages in the Netherlands. According to the companies, this collaboration means that AliExpress customers in the Netherlands can expect delivery of their packages within five to seven days, ANP reports.
The two companies announced the deal on Thursday, though did not reveal any of the financial details about the agreement.
AliExpress has more than 100 million customers worldwide. It is part of Chinese online marketplace Alibaba.
In the next four years PostNL will be cutting another 2 thousand jobs while accelerating the company's transformation into a parcel delivery specialist, the Dutch postal service announced with its annual figures on Monday, ANP reports. Up until the end of 2020 between 500 and 600 full time jobs will disappear annually from the Dutch mail division.
According to CEO Herna Verhagen, there will only be a few forced dismissals. Most employees will be stepping down willingly or reassigned. In the same period 1,600 new jobs will be created in the package division.
Fake postal workers using a stolen mail truck are believed to be behind two separate robberies of a second-hand electronics store in Nieuwegein.
The iUsed location was robbed twice in five days. "This is very bizarre", iUsed manager Jip van Asperen said to newspaper AD.
On Friday two people dressed as PostNL workers stole a large order of Apple devices directly from the store. The order, value estimated at around 20 thousand euros, was already packaged and waiting for the postal van to pick it up.
PostNL fired one of its drivers with immediate effect on Monday for a Facebook post in which he praised the bombing in Istanbul, Turkey over the weekend. The Dutch postal service confirmed the dismissal on Facebook and Twitter, following an outraged storm of reactions.
"Too bad there were only 20 deaths, there should have been many more. At least those 29 aren't coming here, great." The man wrote on Facebook
A computer error at PostNL on Monday resulted in thousands of packages being delayed in delivery. This means that thousands of Sinterklaas gifts may not make it to their recipients on time, the Telegraaf reports.
"We are working with man and might to deliver as many packages as possible through the evening delivery", a spokesperson for PostNL said to the Telegraaf after confirming the computer error.
Internal sources told the newspaper that hundreds of thousands of packages are affected by the delays, but the spokesperson denied this.
Sinterklaas spent nearly 1.3 billion euros shopping online for gifts this year. That is an increase of 35 percent compared to the online spending around the Sinterklaas celebrations last year, according to a study by PostNL and Thuiswinkel.org, AD reports
"Between 1 November and 5 December, the average weekly turnover is over 250 million euros", according to the researchers. "For the total Sinterklaas period the turnover comes down to 1.26 billion euros. That means an increase of 35 percent compared to the only sales of 933 million euros in the same period in 2015".
Sinterklaas season, and its accompanying increase in online shopping in the Netherlands, is leading to a very busy week for PostNL. The Dutch postal service expects to deliver a record number of over 5 million parcels during the Sinterklaas celebrations, ANP reports.
"Our sorting centers are running at full power across the country", Gerrit Mastenbroek, director of the parcel division of PostNL, said to the broadcaster on Tuesday. "Next week there will be 3,800 delivery drivers on the road, that is 600 more than a normal delivery day."
PostNL is increasing the price of stamps. From January 1st the basic rate for domestic mail will be 78 cents. That is an increase of 5 cents per stamp
A number of retailers who manage a PostNL parcel point filed a lawsuit against the postal service's decision to reduce their fees, retail association VVP said to broadcaster NOS. According to the association, the fee cut costs a shopkeeper an average of 9 thousand euros per year.
Dutch consumers spent more than half a billion euros on purchases from foreign online stores, a third more than in 2014. Chinese online stores are particularly popular, accounting for a quarter of the spending, according to figures collected by market researcher GfK and PostNL