The state-owned company Itella, which is responsible for postal services in Finland, is launching new co-determination talks with personnel aimed at cutting staff. A total of 430 administrative posts at Itella are in jeopardy in this latest move.
The looming cuts apply especially to employees in sales and marketing, as well as in data and personnel management. Most of those affected work at the company’s head offices in Helsinki.
The discussions should not have any effect on the distribution or sorting of mail. In the previous round of co-determination talks 230 jobs in dozens of post offices were put on the line at customer service points.
In August Itella published a three-year savings programme aimed at savings of EUR 100 million.
Itella CEO Jukka Alho says that more savings are needed if plans to impose VAT on newspapers and magazines are implemented. Reductions in other postal services also add to the troubles of Itella.
“We have been preparing for this for 15 years. The only surprise is that the changes have been postponed this far. The greatest factor reducing the volume of the postal service is the reduced number of subscriptions of magazines and newspapers, and the decline in the popularity of first class letters.”
The planned cutbacks affect employees of varying ages in several different units.
The Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU warns that Itella’s cost-cutting programme threatens the jobs of thousands of workers in the postal service.
The union also criticises Itella for having a top-heavy management and for using expensive consultants’ services.
“I would hope that unnecessary management would be removed at the company’s administrative level, but I fear that the job cutbacks will target the lower levels of administration”, says PAU chairman Esa Vilkuna.
CEO Aho denies that thousands of jobs would be in jeopardy.
The company says that some of the cuts can be handled through retirement packages and other arrangements.
Union leader Vilkuna nevertheless suspects that the company cannot afford extensive retirement arrangements, as the baby boom generation has already largely been dealt with.
“The most problematic group are those who are in the range of 50 years of age. We know that finding a new job is difficult for them, and that it is a long time before they can retire.”
Itella currently employs about 22,000 people in Finland.