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OPTA: job creation programmes may also not infringe on PTT Post’s monopoly

The infringement of the monopoly held by PTT Post to deliver letters of up to 500 grams is also not allowed for the purposes of job creation. OPTA has come to this conclusion following an investigation. It conducted this investigation, because some municipal councils are allowing their letters to be delivered by staff on job creation programmes.

It was unclear whether the municipal councils were contravening the Postal Act [Postwet] by doing this. This legislation stipulates that PTT Post enjoys the sole right to deliver letters of up to 500 grams. This monopoly is based on the social objective that letters should be delivered throughout the Netherlands at the same tariff. If job creation programmes or any other profit-making services were to take over from PTT Post, especially in densely populated areas, there would be a danger of this social objective being undermined. OPTA therefore insists on compliance with this monopoly.

Nevertheless, the Postal Act does make provision for an exception to the monopoly enjoyed by PTT Post. In this case the letters would need to be transported ‘other than for the purposes of business’. However, this concept is not defined in the Postal Act. For this reason OPTA has had to interpret this concept itself. Based on a number of criteria – the manner in which the transport of postal consignments is structured and the quantity of letters involved – OPTA has concluded that the delivery of municipal post by staff on job creation programmes contravenes the Postal Act.

The municipal councils and job creation schemes will be given a lengthy transitional period within which to cease contravening the Postal Act. OPTA will only impose an actual or conditional penalty if municipal post is still transported contrary to the provisions of the Postal Act after 1 September.

OPTA conducted this investigation because some municipal councils where having their letters delivered by job creation staff.