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For the first time, Swiss Post admits to "local problems" with delivery

Especially in Berlin, it has been an issue in households for weeks.

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For the first time, Swiss Post admits to "local problems" with delivery

Especially in Berlin, it has been an issue in households for weeks. But even in other metropolitan areas, when you look in the mailbox, you will notice that the post no longer comes every day.

Sometimes individual streets or sides of streets are left out, sometimes the letter post in the delivery districts is completely affected. After weeks of complaints and customer complaints, Deutsche Post is now openly speaking of “local problems” in delivery for the first time.

Reasons for this are high volumes of parcels and letters - which are often delivered together - as well as too few staff. According to the information, a particularly large number of corona diseases among the deliverers should also contribute to this. That is why the postal group is now working in some delivery regions according to a so-called emergency plan.

"The emergency plans have been coordinated with the responsible Federal Network Agency and only allow delivery every other day," said Thomas Schneider, Divisional Director for Operations at Post and Parcel Germany, in a conference call currently scheduled. In some cities, some houses are currently only called every other day. The existing delivery staff is not sufficient for the volume of letters and parcels.

The manager did not specifically state in which regions such an emergency exists. Berlin was mentioned as a "hotspot" for this, otherwise postal delivery is restricted in several metropolitan areas. Priorities were not mentioned.

In the affected areas, it is difficult to “recruit delivery staff,” the Post said. In retrospect, it was a mistake to have implemented the emergency plans so late. "We have to apologize to our customers for not being able to deliver the service they are used to," said Schneider.

The Post management said it was simply impossible to cope with the volume of mail on individual days. The number of parcels in October was "significantly above expectations". At the same time, the sickness rate is higher than in other years. The situation is very volatile. However, management is confident of getting the situation under control.

New hires, temporary jobs and temporary work, also from abroad, should now help to be able to cope with the backlog of letters and parcels in the coming weeks. The post office has also formed a "rapid reaction force" made up of postal workers who are supposed to help out temporarily in the problem areas. Almost 100,000 employees currently work in the delivery department of the Bonn-based group.

For the first time, the Post's management admitted that the problems caused letters to arrive with delays. It is usual – and also prescribed by law – for 80 percent of the daily volume of letters to take one day after the letter has been posted to reach the addressee.

According to Swiss Post, this rate was 89 percent last year. "In the first half of 2022 we were still at this level, but in the second half of the year it's between 83 percent and 84 percent," said manager Schneider. If there are bottlenecks, for example due to the absence of delivery staff, the parcels are given priority at the post office. "Letters automatically slow down as a result," said manager Schneider. Parcels cannot be easily stored or buffered and are therefore “prioritized over letters”.

According to the information, the Post is hiring employees for the delivery, but cannot find enough staff. There have been around 3,000 settings in the past few weeks. "We have a tense situation on the labor market," said Post Manager Schneider, referring to full employment in southern Germany, for example. During the Christmas weeks, postal employees from the administration are also supposed to help out with letter and parcel delivery.

The problems are distributed differently on the days of the week. In parcel post, for example, deliveries on Mondays are particularly affected, because then the orders from the weekend roll from the large warehouses of online retailers such as Amazon to the parcel centers of the Post.

Swiss Post delivers up to eleven million parcels on this working day. Postmen also have to deliver parcels up to a certain size. A lot will also change at Swiss Post in the long term. High fluctuations, especially in parcel volumes, require a change in work organization. The Post must find new and sustainable solutions to their delivery problem, said Nikola Hagleitner, who is responsible for this on the Post Group Board.

There must be changes in the forthcoming amendment to the postal law. "We need more flexibility with the terms," ​​said the manager. Delivery on the next working day for almost all letters could soon be a thing of the past.

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