November 10, 2023
Parliament gave the green light to Petra De Sutter’s (Green) parcel law on Thursday. The law must combat social dumping, but the N-VA sees Bpost as the winner.
Friday, November 24 is Black Friday again, the busiest day for the parcel delivery sector. The new parcel law, which the Minister of Post obtained through the government and parliament after months of struggle, ends up on the doorstep of the parcel companies and their subcontractors. “It has never been seen in Europe,” says De Sutter. ‘Thousands of parcel couriers who are self-employed will soon receive a minimum wage and the right to rest. No more exhausted parcel couriers here who bring home Christmas purchases for a pittance.’
This is a law that makes working in the parcel sector human.
Petra De Sutter (Green)
Minister of Post
The new law will allow couriers to deliver parcels for a maximum of 9 hours per day. In total this concerns a maximum of 56 hours per week, a maximum of 90 hours per two weeks and a maximum of 10 hours twice a week. In addition, there will also be a statutory minimum compensation for the couriers. From now on, they will also be paid for petrol, garage costs and car insurance, for example. “All in all, you get a higher minimum compensation than most people get today,” says De Sutter.
In addition, the text creates a legal basis for the reporting obligation of postal companies to the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT). The registration obligation for the distribution time of parcel deliverers will also have a legal basis. The text will mean that every SME that delivers parcels for a larger postal company will receive at least a minimum compensation. This should make the sector less susceptible to undeclared work or other tax fraud. In addition, a new registration system should increase transparency.
The sector is reacting very negatively to the new law. According to the transport federation Febetra, additional staff will be needed and costs for consumers will rise. The smaller players will also feel the greatest pressure on their margins due to the extra costs for administration and IT, it is said.
According to De Sutter, the law does not have to lead to an increase in prices. ‘This is a law that makes working in the parcel sector human. Because no, I didn’t think it was normal that people had to be on the road 16 hours a day to deliver parcels. Without well-being, no profit.’
You are not just going to tackle the bad apples, but you are also going to clear up the entire forest. And the laughing third is Bpost.
N-VA Member of Parliament
According to N-VA MP Michael Freilich, who has been complaining for years about an uneven playing field due to the subsidies that Bpost receives for the newspaper contract, the law has once again been tailor-made for the autonomous public company. ‘You are not just going to tackle the bad apples, but you are also going to cut down the entire forest. And the laughing third is Bpost.’
According to Les Engagés and the PVDA, the mountain gave birth to a mouse because false independence has disappeared from the text. The opposition voted against, with six abstentions. The text will enter into force in 2024. In case of violations, client companies risk a fine of up to 5 percent of their turnover.