Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 24: The Dual Trend Towards Operational Efficiencies and Social Regulation in European Postal Services
Dominique Bailly† and Margaux Meidinger‡ 1 INTRODUCTION Our chapter draws heavily on the findings of ‘The Social Observatory of the postal sector’ project conducted by the Social Dialogue Committee1 in 2009 and co-financed by the European Commission. Its objective was to study the social impact of the changes currently under way in the postal sector in nine countries, namely Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. It focused on the operators’ adaptation strategies, the role of social dialogue and the state of social regulation in a changing environment, and human resource (HR) solutions for managing change. The project’s final report has been widely distributed to postal operators and unions in all member states and to relevant industry stakeholders of the sector.2 Faced with a decline in their traditional core activity, historic national postal operators (NPOs) have to adapt by seeking greater operational efficiencies and adapting their social organization. At the same time, we are seeing the emergence of alternative low-cost models put in place by new entrants. This changing environment highlights the need for social regulation as a prerequisite for ensuring fair competition and socially acceptable conditions for pursuing the necessary transformations in the sector. However, the principle of social regulation has been challenged on occasion on the grounds that it creates new barriers to entry and hampers the sector’s dynamism. In a changing market, this chapter presents an initial survey of the challenges entailed in social regulation. Section 2 considers the adaptation strategies of NPOs...
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