Minister ups pressure on PostNL over 'self-employed' status

9th January 2014, Comments 2 comments

The cabinet is putting pressure on PostNL to re-employ hundreds of parcel delivery workers because they are not really self-employed, the Financieele Dagblad says on Thursday.

A spokesman for social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher, who has made combating the abuse of self-employed status a central part of his policies, has confirmed the discussions, the Financieele Dagblad says.

The company denies the delivery workers are not really acting as independent companies. ‘These entrepreneurs are client-focused and flexible,' a spokesman told the paper.

One client

PostNL works with some 3,500 independent delivery firms and around 1,000 of them only have one client, PostNL, the paper says. In order to qualify as self-employed for tax purposes, a freelancer must have at least three customers.

The company has been reducing staff numbers in recent years in an effort to cut costs in the face of competition from other delivery firms and digitalisation.

Sources told the FD it would be financially difficult for the company to re-employ delivery workers as ordinary staff.


Maurice Jacobs, who represents a number of self-employed delivery staff who went on strike last year, says the fake independent status is shown by the demands PostNL places on them.

‘These sub-contractors have to follow all sorts of instructions about the routes they take, their clothing and the way their van's are organised. That would imply a more formal relationship,' he told the paper.

Jacobs says he suspects the company has a deal with the tax office to allow so many delivery workers without the required three clients and VAR statement of independence.

PostNL told the FD it has various agreements with the tax office covering different subjects.


2 Comments To This Article

  • rammy posted:

    on 15th January 2014, 17:38:12 - Reply

    ...agreed tim!
  • Tim posted:

    on 9th January 2014, 18:56:14 - Reply

    Naturally, only a large Dutch MNC is allowed to have slaves (fake self employed companies with no labour rights) employed.
    I am not surprised at all, that the allmighty TNT Post actually made an agreement with the Dutch tax office to please treat its workers as 'self employed companies'. Most of us plebs, have to fight to be allowed the status 'self employed' (to get some self employment tax breaks). But oh no, for the all mighty TNT, it does NOT matter whether the self employed has 1 more 3 clients at the minimum - nopes, these fake 'self employed"s tax breaks (financed from our expat salary tax moneys) will have a green light no matter if they can or can not meet the 3 customer requirements. In Holland, everyone is equal, but some just more equal than others.