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Postal strike will hit deliveries

National protest over changes in working conditions highlights number of suicides across the group

POSTAL workers are on strike today in a national protest against worsening working conditions that have led to a rise in the number of staff off sick.

Deliveries were halted in many parts of the country in protest at a series of changes over the past years as La Poste prepared for its change in status to a société anonyme, a state-owned privately run company.

Unions said increased workloads had resulted in a number of suicides because the semi-privatisation had denied workers a voice in their own workplace.

They claim that 71 people have killed themselves and that the most recent, in Bouches-du-Rhône in January, took his own life after facing an audit over a €160 disparity in an account. La Poste has denied the claims.

However, postal unions point to the similarities with France Télécom, which was hit by a wave of 35 suicides between 2008 and 2009.

Long-term sickness has also soared within the group, and the cost has risen €4 million in two years. Last year occupational health specialists wrote to the group warning the management of severe physical and mental effects on staff.

La Poste president Jean-Paul Bailly has reorganised the company over the past few years after it faced losing its monopoly on delivering letters under 50g. That has mean amalgamating offices, closing several operations and cutting jobs.

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