UNI Global Union will call for stronger regulation and social and environmental standards across the postal supply chain, at the Universal Postal Union (UPU) high-level forum in Bern today, 13 February.

The UPU, which is the UN specialized agency for the postal sector, is considering whether to open up to more players in the industry, as liberalization and ecommerce have led to a huge increase in private operators in postal services.  

“Any political changes at the UPU must be followed by structural changes,” says UNI General Secretary, Christy Hoffman. “If the UPU extends its membership, it must demand that private players abide by the same public regulations and laws as postal operators, particularly in terms of quality of services and employment practices.”

Increased competition and deregulation in the parcel and express business have led to lower salaries and poorer working conditions than in the highly regulated market for post.

“As the importance of postal services has shifted from letter to parcel, so have the key players in the industry. We need a new definition of post to cover all workers in the sector to fight inequality and close the gap between working conditions and salaries,” says Hoffman.

“UNI represents postal and logistics workers and we want the best for both. But this can’t be achieved without standards and regulations being applied fairly across the market. Instead of lowering salaries and working conditions, we want the parcel sector to start competing on quality and innovation to provide a better service to customers and citizens.”

Hoffman will also call for the UPU to give more recognition to postal workers and organizations representing vulnerable parts of society.  

“The UPU must do more to include all stakeholders in decision-making processes, to make their voices heard and to reflect their demands in UPU policies,” she says.

UNI Global Union represents more than 2.5 million workers in the post and logistics sector around the world.