PostNL forms staff placement firm, ahead of planned job cuts
PostNL has teamed up with the top two recruitment firms in the Netherlands to set up a new company to provide temporary work for laid-off postal workers while seeking new permanent jobs. The establishment of the new firm, dubbed Banenbedrijf (Job Company), comes ahead of a planned restructuring of the postal company’s delivery network in 2012.
PostNL, which split from TNT and rebranded earlier this year, has been trimming its operations process for a while, and since 2006 has cut more than 5,500 employees from its 77,000-strong work force.
The new “socially-minded” venture is being run with human resources specialists Randstad and Tempo-Team, offering redundant PostNL employees a new employment contract that will include temporary work placement and the prospect of a new long-term employment.
In order to take part, redundant employees will be required to “invest” part of their severance pay, with PostNL itself also contributing. Depending on how much the employee wishes to invest, they can gain a one, two, three or three-and-a-half year contract with the Job Company.
If the Job Company has found a permanent position for that worker more quickly than expected, he or she may then be entitled to a partial refund of the investment.
PostNL said the initiative meant that its workers would remain in the employment process and gain work experience while moving into a new permanent job.
Pieter Kunz, operations director at PostNL, said the new Job Company concept came on the back of a promise made to workers last December that PostNL would do its “utmost” to help find work for any laid-off workers.
“For years, our company has championed the ‘work to work’ principle,” he said. “We understand the major dilemma our employees are facing right now; all the same, we are convinced that the Job Company offers these employees realistic, positive opportunities for the future.”
PostNL said today that the planned restructuring of its delivery process was in response to declining mail volumes and changing customer requirements.
The plan will involve use of mainly part-time mail delivery staff and preparation workers, rather than the traditional full-time postman.
“PostNL has been forced to drastically redesign its logistics model and centralise its key processes, meaning that the company is becoming an organisation that mainly employs part-time staff,” it said.
From 2012 until mid-2013, PostNL plans to gradually close about 300 delivery offices. Staff in the affected offices were informed over the summer.
Staff let go by the company will be offered part-time jobs within a central mail preparation site, but will also be able to make use of PostNL’s existing Mobility support programme and the new Jobs Company.
The Job Company concept has the support of union BVPP, with its leader Paul Jekkers stating it was an “excellent way” to guide people into a new job.
“The Job Company especially opens possibilities for those employees who are uncertain as to whether they can find other work through the Mobility programme,” said Jekkers.
Kees Stroomer, managing director of Tempo-Team, the second largest human resources agency in the Netherlands, said the Jobs Company programme would bundle the strength of the labour market with the resources of both his own company and Randstad, the largest HR firm in the Netherlands.
“Thanks to our large network of companies, the many vacancies and our extensive experience, in general we should be able to find work for these employees immediately,” said Stroomer, who added that it was “essential” for workers to keep working.
“And from that position, we will work constructively towards finding them a permanent position that suits their personal capacities and preferences,” he said.