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Dutch mail carriers unite to compete with PostNL

Subco Partners, the association of independent mail carriers who work on behalf of PostNL, plans to start its own parcel company that can compete with PostNL. The most important reason for doing this, is the fact the mail carriers are unhappy with how the postal company treats them. They get treated as if they are freelancers, although the carriers mostly have PostNL as their only contractor.


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Maurice Jacobs, who is the director of Subco Partners, has confirmed the plans to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. Last Sunday, mail carriers protested in Amsterdam in order to enforce better working conditions. “We want PostNL to pay freelancers as freelancers, so they can pay their insurances the normal way and they don’t have to deal with bankruptcy every time”, he says.

The problem now is that PostNL treats the mail carriers as if they are freelancers, although most of them only have one contractor: PostNL. So there is a disguised employment, which means the postal company didn’t need to pay taxes and social charges for them. A few weeks ago, PostNL announced it will hire some mail carriers – at least the ones who are open to this – after years of debate with the tax authorities and the Ministry of Social Affairs.

But according to Subco Partners there are still some loose ends and they demand some clarity. “For example, what will happen with the busses our mail carriers had to buy? What will happen to their VAT debt and income tax liability? Many of them will be personally bankrupt tomorrow if they get hired by PostNL.”

About 450 mail carriers are members of Subco Partners, which corresponds to 15% of all mail carriers working on behalf of PostNL. If PostNL and Subco Partners won’t be able to agree on certain terms, the start of an own parcel company will be the next step, Jacob says. “The mail carriers will then be joint-owners, at least if they want to and are able to.”