CEO of Bpost does not rule out restructuring ahead of parliamentary hearing

The new CEO of postal operator Bpost, Chris Peeters, has acknowledged the possibility of restructuring within the company. He told De Tijd this on Tuesday before a hearing in the Chamber Committee on Public Enterprises, where he will explain his plans for the company.

Ministers in the core cabinet called into question the distribution of magazines and newspapers last November. Following a transition period that concludes at the end of June, commercial publishers are set to receive only limited government support for distribution in rural municipalities until the end of 2026.

Peeters was unable to say how many jobs have been threatened by the loss of government subsidies. The newspaper distribution contract currently provides Bpost with work for 4,000 full-time equivalents.

"The precise impact depends entirely on the volumes that we will still be allowed to distribute," says Peeters. "It is logical that the situation is very tense for everyone. But we will make maximum efforts to continue distributing as many newspapers as possible."

Differing opinions

At the beginning of February, Petra De Sutter of Flemish green party Groen, the minister responsible for telecommunications and post, said she did not expect any layoffs. "Bpost has absolutely no intention of talking about social plans or major restructuring. I can confirm that. And we as a government will play our role," she told De Tijd following a trade union strike.

However, Peeters said: "I cannot rule out a restructuring. If we no longer have any volume tomorrow, you, as CEO, have to take responsibility. That is why we are putting maximum effort into new contracts. It is a very complex and non-straightforward operation, but I'm hopeful."

Peeters says he is also involving the unions - which have traditionally been strong at Bpost - in the decisions. For example, he is looking at possibilities for internal mobility. "Everyone knows: transformation is something you do with the social partners," he said. "And because of the pressure surrounding the newspaper contract, they realise that we have to sit around the table."



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