Posti Group to cut 380 jobs, under post office outsourcing plan
Finland’s Posti Group looks set to axe up to 380 retail jobs over the next few years as it pulls out of owning its own post offices. The state-owned company in the process of a major cost-cutting and restructuring campaign said yesterday that it wants to switch to post offices run by partners – particularly existing retail businesses that offer extended opening hours.
It said the move should respond to customer demand for longer opening hours, more flexibility of service and new online services.
But, negotiations are set to begin with around 477 staff next week with a view to cutting “no more than 380” permanent roles from 2015 to 2018.
Posti Group currently has 98 of its own post offices, and said that initial plans would see a “significant part” of this network transferring to partner companies.
Partner companies already operate around 800 postal counters in Finland.
The company insisted that it could not otherwise maintain its current services or provide extended opening hours profitably.
Riku Kuusisto, the director of Posti Group’s service network, said the background to the outsourcing effort was the “dramatic” change in customer demands.
“Customers want to manage their postal transactions at the same time they go grocery shopping or to shopping malls,” he said. “A TNS Gallup survey found over 70% of Finns want post office opening hours to extend into the evenings and weekends.”
“For us, it is important to provide services that meet the needs of our customers,” added Kuusisto. “A partner company providing our customers with access to postal services is an easy way to take care of postal issues, as is already the case with 90% of post offices.”
Kuusisto said its outsourcing strategy for post offices was in line with many other postal services, including those in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway where Posts have few post offices of their own, if any at all.
Posti Group said as well as looking to broaden post office opening hours, it is also planning to expand its post office network with more than 100 new locations in the coming years.
The network is expected to grow from 1,400 to 1,500 service points by 2017, the company said, adding that it has already grown from the 1,050 service points in operation in 2010. The current service points include 470 self-service parcel locker terminals.
The company said any transfer of post offices to new operators would be communicated to the public “in good time”, and that negotiations with staff would not affect other postal services.
Staff facing the loss of their jobs will have the chance to participate in Posti Group’s training and support programme, which helps staff find new jobs, retrain or start their own businesses.