Millions in EU subsidies.... to dump postal workers

7 October 2010

Millions in EU subsidies.... to dump postal workers

Dutch postal carrier TNT is receiving millions of euros to enable it to get rid of employees on permanent contracts and at the same time to hire new workers on short-term, cheap contracts. In recent years the company has received €4.1 million from the European Social Fund (ESF) to take on and train part-time postal workers, and a further €5.5 million in subsidies for the retraining of postal employees whom the firm wants to make redundant. TNT is looking to fire thousands of people, with the argument that otherwise they would be 'overstaffed'. SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen: 'Up front TNT takes on low-paid workers on flexible contracts, while behind the scenes permanent employees are on their way out. The company is engaged in replacing real employment with pulp jobs. And for this they are rewarded by Europe with almost ten million in subsidies. It surely can't get any crazier.'

Sharon GesthuizenEconomic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven denies that the replacement of workers on permanent contracts with short-term employees is being subsidised. Enquiries to TNT have, she says, demonstrated that this is not the case. "Specifically, for TNT the ESF projects are separate to the reorganisation." In response, Gesthuizen describes herself as "disappointed that the minister accepts the TNT explanation so meekly. How can they assert that the subsidies are separate to the mass redundancies? Isn't TNT a single firm? This is in the interests of no-one but TNT's shareholders. That money should be paid back."

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