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Bpost strike affecting postal distribution in Brussels and Wallonia
A 24-hour strike by Belgian post operator Bpost that began on Tuesday is expected to affect mail delivery across the country, but in Brussels and in Wallonia in particular.
Post unions announced the strike on Twitter and several post offices may be closed as a result.
Some places in Wallonia (Awans, Binche) have already been on strike since Monday afternoon, Bpost spokesperson Veerle Van Mierlo told Belga.
Van Mierlo said the strike has to do with Bpost's transformation from a traditional postal player to an international e-commerce company, a process that also requires a different organisation of affairs.
That process has been delayed for some time due to several CEO changes, Van Mierlo said, but is being accelerated again since the appointment of Jos Donvil.
VSOA Post union president Luc Tegethoff said there have been collective bargaining negotiations and "reorganisations here and there", which are also related to Amazon's decision to develop its own network of parcel distribution.
As a result of Amazon’s increased presence, parcel volumes for Bpost have fallen in several places, “especially in Wallonia and Brussels,” Tegethoff said.
The unions are using the strike to send a signal and increase pressure to revisit the reorganisations, explained Tegethoff: “We want to go along with the management's plan, but not at the cost of job losses.”
Since potential job losses would likely be in Brussels and Wallonia, that is where the strike’s impact is expected to be greatest.
“In addition to the postal workers, the sorting centres in Liège, Charleroi and Brussels will remain closed, which will greatly disrupt mail distribution in these regions,” said Stéphane Daussaint of the CSC ACV trade union.
The strike also extends to counter staff, which means that many post offices will be closed.