PostNL Parcels to hire 1,200 workers via social employment groups

PostNL has said its parcels division will be creating jobs for 1,200 people over the next two years, recruiting from among the long-term unemployed. The pledge from PostNL Parcels came within an agreement with Dutch social employment initiative Locus and local employment groups.

The new jobs will be created within 18 new sorting and distribution centres being established or upgraded at the company up to 2014, which are replacing the current network of four sorting centres and 37 distribution centres.

Among the first depots to hire unemployed people are those at Hengelo and at Den Bosch, which have been recently upgraded as part of a EUR 250m investment in the company’s parcel sorting infrastructure.

Plans are to hire 550 people from sheltered employment and 650 people on welfare to work with sorting machines at the new depots.

PostNL Parcels said it has had positive experience of working with unemployed people before, having worked with social employment organisations for more than eight years.

Gerrit Mastenbroek, managing director at PostNL Parcels, said they could provide “extremely motivated, loyal and skilled workers”, but that his company had to work with social employment organisations since it did not have the expertise itself to guide employees who were distant from the labour market.

“We want to put employees who are distant from the labour market to work in our new depots,” said Mastenbroek. “We have started with the first group secondment together with the local social employment organisation in our pilot depot in Utrecht.”

Best practice

Locus is a one-year-old initiative of social welfare group Divosa and sheltered employment umbrella group Cedris, which partners with business to help unemployed people back into work.

Hanne Overbeek, the Locus managing director, said as a result of the pilot project with PostNL Parcels in Utrecht, his organisation had developed a methodology for cooperating with local social employment groups that is now being applied in four more depots.

She said: “The national partnership will allow us to share best practices and ensure that the guidance and support of the employees meet the wishes of PostNL Parcels. By providing proper support to your employees, you let businesses take corporate social responsibility.”

PostNL Parcels is restructuring its network to handle around 140m parcels a year, compared to its current 106m parcels. Last year saw ecommerce accounting for more than 77m of those shipments.

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