Postal strike starts over parcel deliveries in south-east France

Workers want compensation for new role delivering special packages

Postal strike is taking place in the south-east of France
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Postal workers in parts of the south-east of France have begun an indefinite strike over an increased volume of parcel deliveries on routes.

Up to 80% of workers in the Manosque (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence) branch and the surrounding area walked out yesterday (February 14), with no return date set.

Action has been triggered by new role requirements.

Since the beginning of the year, postal workers in the area also have to deliver ‘Chronopost’ parcels in their rounds as part of a trial conducted by La Poste.

It can add up to 350 extra packages per day to a round without any additional pay.

Workers are also demanding that temporary workers are hired on a full-time basis to fill gaps in the company.

Hundreds of extra parcels

The addition of Chronopost parcels – larger parcels often sent between companies or for important deliveries – has seen workers need to spend more time on their routes.

The parcels can be significantly larger than traditional letters or deliveries conducted by La Poste.

“We're not against this resumption of activity, but we're asking for resources and extra pay,” said Tristan, a postman from the Manosque branch, to BFMTV.

"Customer relations are important, I don't just want to be a deliveryman who drives like crazy to do my job,” he added.

Postal workers, particularly in rural areas, can also carry out a host of other activities, including checking on elderly and isolated people and delivering meals.

Read more: ‘Clothes cabins’, checks on older people: La Poste is diversifying

If they have to spend more time delivering parcels, they have less time to do this, or even just to speak to the people they see frequently as part of their daily rounds, which they say will lessen the sense of community.

La Poste officials, however, say the additional packages are necessary to “compensate for a drop in mail traffic.”

Pay and working conditions also a factor

“The bonus we're asking for is the equivalent of five hours' overtime per agent per month for six months [around €800]", Tristan said.

The workers however, are asking for a bonus and not overtime directly, as usually postal workers finish their rounds within their contracted hours.

"We have asked for people who have been on temporary contracts for more than two years to be included in the workforce, especially as there are needs and positions that are not being filled,” said another postman from the branch.

“Locally, the necessary resources have been invested to ensure that this test runs smoothly,” said La Poste, who said “two extra staff members” had been hired.

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