TNT invites unions to restart wage talks

TNT NV said on Tuesday it would invite unions to restart wage talks in a bid to avert a countrywide strike next week.

“We have listened carefully to our employees and see room for negotiations,” a TNT spokesman said, adding that if the unions accept the invitation, talks would start on Friday.

TNT workers are demanding a 3.5 percent wage rise retroactive to April 1 for a one-year period.

TNT has offered a 1.5 percent increase retroactive to April 1 and another 1.5 percent rise on Jan. 1, 2009, conditional on changing employment conditions.

TNT argued its workers are already paid 20 to 25 percent more than market rates. It had originally sought a pay freeze, in a bid to cut costs and compete better with rivals.

TNT is targeting cost savings of 395 million euros (USD 615 million) between 2007 and 2015.

The unions have been holding rolling industrial action in different parts of the country, that will culminate in a countrywide strike planned for May 27 to back their demands.

The company, which is expected to lose its monopoly in the domestic market, has said that without changes to employment terms, it may have to cut up to 11,000 jobs from its Dutch workforce of 59,000.

The government said on Friday it would postpone the opening of the Dutch mail market due to uncertainties over a level playing field in Germany and labour conditions at home.

TNT has steadily lost market share to rivals Sandd and Deutsche Post’s Selekt Mail.

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