- Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
18. Liberalization and postal workers* Henrik B. Okholm† and Anna Möller‡ 48 49 1 INTRODUCTION Since January 2011, most postal markets in the EU are fully liberalized and the national postal operators (NPOs) are exposed to competition in all market segments. This has created a concern among Europe’s 1.8 million postal workers about the effect of full market opening (FMO) on wages and employment conditions. The fear of deteriorating wages and employment conditions is strongly linked to the high labor intensity of postal services. On average, labor costs represent 60 percent of European NPOs’ total costs, varying from 40 percent in Sweden and the Netherlands to over 70 percent in Ireland, Spain and Greece (see Copenhagen Economics, 2010). Consequently, an effective cost-reduction measure is changes in wages and employment conditions. New postal operators often employ younger or less educated workers, more part-time workers, or use self-employed deliverers. The fact that these operators can enter more market segments after FMO has increased social tensions in the sector. This chapter examines whether the anticipated fear among postal workers is justified or not. Will wages and other employment conditions deteriorate unconditionally at FMO and what are the consequences for postal workers? Section 2 reviews the methodology of the study. Sections 3–7 provide the individual country studies, divided into ‘before’ and ‘after’ FMO. Section 8 summarizes the main findings and discusses their implications. 2 METHODOLOGY Although the effect of liberalization on postal workers is of great interest for many stakeholders there has...
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