Norway Postal service posts loss, job cuts loom

Norway’s postal service (Posten Norge AS) reported a sharp reversal in fortunes on Monday, blaming it on the rise in e-mail use. Another 3,000 staff positions will likely be cut by 2005.

Posten posted a pre-tax loss of NOK 106 million, compared to a profit of NOK 718 million in 2001. Revenues from first- and second-class letter post fell 9.2 percent during the year.
The postal service already has cut around 6,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the past three years, with total employment now standing at around 19,400. Posten chief executive Kaare Frydenberg said he expects staffing to total around 16,000 by 2005.

“This sort of restructuring is necessary because our revenues are declining and our competition is increasing,” Frydenberg said.

The transition from traditional letter-writing and card-sending to e-mail correspondance has gone faster in Norway than elsewhere in Europe. Sale of Posten’s services has declined in step.

Norway’s postal service already is a shadow if its former self, with many post offices shut down and postal services now conducted from local grocery stores or other retail entities. Remaining post offices have been converted to “postal boutiques” that sell a variety of stationery and office products and require customers to conduct increasing amounts of self-service.

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