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Angry postal workers demonstrate in Brussels

brussels bureau

Angry postal workers demonstrate in Brussels


If you are not happy with the mail, you are not alone: Postal workers have been demonstrating outside the European Parliament in Brussels, demanding an end to liberalisation of their sector.

They say the switch from publicly funded postal systems to private ownership leads to less pay, unemployment and poorer working conditions and unequal treatment of customers.

The 3rd postal directive is set to usher in further privatisation of postal services across Europe.

Jean-Philippe Ducart, with Test-Achats, a consumer expert in Belgium, said: “We’ve seen in countries that have already liberalised, like Sweden, that in the space of a few months the price of a stamp has gone up quite a lot, and that the price of services for small and large companies has significantly lowered. So, we see a negative effect on consumers and a positive one for companies.”

Reforming the EU countries’ postal markets began in the early 1990s, aimed at a European single market. The end of this year is the deadline for member states to abolish existing legal monopolies on postal services, though with extensions for many. 1.7 million people are employed in the postal sector, and it generates an annual turnover of around 1% of EU GDP.

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