Rolling strikes to hit Bpost next week

Trades unions at Belgian Bpost are to have a series of rolling strikes from the 7-12 November, warning that the strikes could continue beyond.

The unions are complaining at cuts to Bpost services and the increasing workload on mail staff that has occurred as a result. Mail delivery staff have complained that they have to carry more mail on longer routes. All unions and trades in the business will be striking in concert.

“Our customers and the people in general will feel the impact of this action,” commented Koen Van Gerven, CEO of Bpost, on the unions’ unwillingness to negotiate.

“There are always not enough colleagues,” said union representative Jean-Pierre Nyns. “It is not out of the ordinary for one neighbourhood to go a whole week without seeing a mail carrier, because we don’t have the people. Our members are then confronted by justifiably angry citizens.”

On Monday the unions got together to discuss organising the action after an edict from Van Gerven who said that employees will no longer be able to choose when they took annual leave but must take it when offered by the postal operator.

“After that communication is was obvious that he is not prepared to deal constructively with the last warning issued by the common union front,” Nyns said. “This communication did nothing but add fuel to the fire.”

The rolling strikes are to affect different departments separately. Firstly sorting offices are to walk out with transport and distribution. Central services, the call centre and mail delivery personnel will follow, and on the last day of the strike the Bpost logistics service are to walk out.