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The Netherlands — Postal union leaders take a different line from their UK counterparts

27 October 2009

Dutch Royal Mail (Koninklijke TNT Post BV), which is owned and run by Amsterdam-quoted private operators TNT (TNT:AEX) was faced with possible industrial action when they offered postal workers a three year job guarantee in return for pay cuts of up to 15%. Without the pay cuts, TNT said that thousands of delivery jobs would have to go.

Union members initially voted against a preliminary agreement to cut pay levels in order to keep jobs. However, union leaders set up their own investigation into the financial situation at TNT and have come to the conclusion that the company's increasingly more competitive environment justifies the pay cuts in order to protect jobs.

The Dutch postal unions have told news agency ANP that they now accept that post office workers will have to choose between pay cuts and maintaining employment levels.

Now that they have the facts confirmed by their own financial advisors, union leaders are asking their members to vote again on the pay cuts. TNT said in a statement that it is willing to talk to unions as soon as possible.

This development comes at the same time as the chaotic situation in the UK where two national postal strikes caused mayhem on Thursday and Friday last week, three more strike days are planned for this week and the CWU union plans legal action to stop Royal Mail using temporary employees to clear the backlog of post.

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