Services: Late or lost letters: Post admits problems

Deutsche Post has acknowledged significant problems with the delivery of letters.

Services: Late or lost letters: Post admits problems

Deutsche Post has acknowledged significant problems with the delivery of letters. In certain "hotspots" up to 30 percent of the staff was missing, said the responsible post board member Nikola Hagleitner on Wednesday in Bonn. This is due, among other things, to a high rate of corona sickness.

Things are looking better in other areas, with an overall average of two percent of the delivery staff missing. The personnel problems meant that 100 of the approximately 50,000 delivery districts could not be served. Hagleitner emphasized that the network is stable nationwide. "But I don't want to gloss over the local problems."

As examples of affected areas, Hagleitner named parts of Berlin and generally conurbations and southern Germany. When it comes to delivery problems, the focus is on letters, but things are looking better with parcel delivery. From July to September, the Federal Network Agency received 11,500 complaints about lost or delayed shipments. Most of them were directed against the market leader, Deutsche Post DHL.

Not over the hill yet

The three-month value was higher than the total number of all complaints in the first half of the year (8900). If you add up all the complaints from the first three quarters, it is already a third more than in the whole of the previous year (15,100). In the words of Post's production manager

Board member Hagleitner justified the problems with a difficult situation on the labor market - it is more difficult than before to find skilled workers. It also plays a role that customers and competitors who also use the postal network post more volumes and the network load increases as a result. In addition, sick leave is very high. If in July 2021 there were still 100 corona sick reports, in July 2022 there were already 6800.

In dealing with the problems, management acknowledged mistakes. Emergency plans were sometimes activated too late. "We have to say that very self-critically," said manager Schneider. Two years ago, the group agreed with the Federal Network Agency on measures to be able to react more flexibly to staff shortages. Among other things, the plans envisage that in the hotspots every household will only be called every other day, which will slow down the delivery of letters. The Post reported that this first stage of the measures is now taking effect in individual delivery districts in order to absorb the peaks and reduce the pressure.

Specifications met

Swiss Post is legally obliged to deliver at least 80 percent of its letters on the next working day. According to its own statements, Swiss Post complies with this requirement despite the delivery problems. Manager Schneider said it was 83 to 84 percent. According to earlier company information, this rate for next-day delivery was 88.7 percent in 2020.

Criticism came from politics. Instead of surprising people with the delivery problems, the post office should have put its cards on the table earlier, said FDP member of the Bundestag Reinhard Houben. "A company like the Post should have promoted understanding of the situation through open communication and, if necessary, an information campaign," said the Liberal. "That would have saved her a lot of trouble and loss of trust."

Left-wing member of the Bundestag Pascal Meiser said that the problems with letter delivery were homemade. "They are the result of partial privatization and the massive pressure on returns that is now weighing on Deutsche Post and, as a result, has repeatedly cut back on personnel in particular." The personnel policy with only temporary new hires is misguided.

In the meantime, Swiss Post is gearing up for the immense volume of mail that awaits it in the upcoming Christmas business. According to company estimates, Swiss Post will deliver up to 11 million parcels per day in the period leading up to Christmas Eve. Not only are seasonal workers hired externally to help, but also additional employees from our own ranks: this year, up to 10,000 administrative staff are to help cope with the volume of shipments.