The French post office is to launch a series of trials across the country exploring the possibility of stopping daily postal deliveries. The idea would be to have postal deliveries every other day.
The move is one of several changes to the organisation of deliveries being tested in various areas of France in a bid to trim costs and improve efficiency in keeping with decreasing demands for postal services.
The trials will launch in March this year.
Only urgent mail, such as parcels, newspapers and magazines or registered mail will be delivered daily in the test areas.
"Users will no longer see their posties on a daily basis," Ludovic Jeanneau, a Sud-PTT union delegate, told Franceinfo.
It comes in addition to the introduction of digital stamps in 2023 from La Poste’s smartphone app.
Read more: France’s new digital timbre rouge: Will my letter be seen by staff?
Trials in rural and urban areas
Efficiency tests will take place in Canet-en-Roussillon (Pyrénées-Orientales), Orthez, near Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), Armentières, Carvin, Saint-Omer, Amiens, in the Hauts-de-France, and possibly around Sauve-Créon, near Bordeaux.
Local meetings are planned later in the month to confirm details of the pilot scheme.
Unions say this trial is designed to cut jobs for postal delivery workers. However, La Poste says the strategy is designed to tailor the service to fit the times.
"In 2008, we delivered more than 18 billion letters. In 2022 we only delivered seven billion. The purpose of the exercise is to adapt ourselves as well as possible to the reality of what is happening on the ground," said Yves Xémard, deputy general manager of La Poste’s postal and packaging department.
Plummet in demand
In 2008 there were 14 times as many letters sent first class as there were in 2022 and it was for this reason La Poste decided to remove the ‘prioritaire’ first class red stamp (timbre rouge) on January 1 this year.
For 150 years, the iconic red stamp stood for next day delivery. You could buy them from the local tabac.
You can still download a first class stamp using the post office’s internet service, but the move has proved unpopular with the older public, according to reports in Franceinfo.
La Poste said the red stamp was too expensive and too ‘polluting’.
Read more: French post office confirms it is ending its next-day red stamp
Read more: Will the red French stamps I have at home still work after January 1?
This is how the new prioritaire stamp system will work:
- Instead of using a timbre rouge to send an urgent letter, people will need to buy the e-Lettre service online on the La Poste website at €1.49 per letter
- They will then need to scan the letter to digitise it
- The contents of the letter will then be printed and put in an envelope at the closest post office to the final destination, to speed up delivery.
The eight million people in France who do not yet have internet at home – or cannot use it – will be able to go to a La Poste office directly with their paper letter and have it scanned there.
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