Consumption. The collapse of the post office threatens the tour on Saturday

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The Covid crisis has accelerated the sudden decline in mail. In 2020, the Post distributed only 7 billion letters, up from 9 billion in 2019 and 18 billion in 2008. “2020 was a three-year decline in volume and revenue. It is a catastrophe for the company, ”said Philippe Wahl, CEO of the La Poste Group, on Wednesday before the Finance Committee of the National Assembly.

The strong growth of the package (+ 30{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118}) cannot compensate for this colossal loss by far. It brought in 300 million euros, compared to a loss of more than 1 billion euros for the post, despite the fact that postage stamps were becoming increasingly expensive.

La Poste runs the risk of no longer being able to carry out its public service missions with such a structural deficit, as the state does not provide financial compensation. The universal postal service, which requires La Poste to deliver mail across the country six days a week, is in jeopardy. This also applies to the obligation to have at least 17,000 contact points across France, despite the fact that visitor numbers to post offices fell by 20{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118} in 2020.

'The universal postal service suddenly suffered a deficit of 1.5 billion euros, while it was positive until 2017,' worries the CEO of La Poste, which only has 3 billion letters in 2030.

A mission to the future of public service

The financial situation of the largest French employer (200,000 employees, including 70,000 postmen) is taken very seriously at the highest government level. 'The government wants to reflect on the future of La Postes charitable missions and the terms of compensation,' said Philippe Wahl, who has received a letter from Jean Castex on the subject. The Prime Minister will appoint a personality who will draw his first conclusions at the end of March.

The CEO of La Poste wants to renegotiate the contract for the territorial postal presence 2020-2022 with the mayors before it expires.

Philippe Wahls proposal to include 'the conditions for the distribution of mail and parcels' worries the elected officials on the ground. 'It is not up to the municipalities to compensate for the missions entrusted to La Poste,' warns Xavier Cadoret, who represents the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) at the National Observatory for Postal Presence.

The very expensive red stamp

La Poste, which is preparing its strategic plan for 2030, is examining several scenarios. First title mentioned by Philippe Wahl: The abandonment of the red stamp on D + 1. The delivery of urgent mail is very expensive, while the French prefer the green stamp D + 2 and give up the red stamp. They bought an average of just five in 2020, up from 45 in 2010.

Ending mail delivery on Saturdays is another option, although it would save only 100 million euros per year. The Netherlands and Norway completed five mail carrier rounds per week, while Italy and Denmark switched to an alternative distribution.

'Its probably over six days a week,' said Xavier Cadoret. 'Since the Covid, postmen have stopped passing by on Saturdays in certain municipalities,' notes the Mayor of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy (Allier). The chosen one seems to come to terms with it. 'We shouldnt be prepared for it on Saturday when there is hardly any mail, but the question is how we can compensate for this loss of service.'