Czech Post – illustration photo.
Prague – Czech Post (ČP) will lay off several thousand employees this year. Among them will be delivery people, employees at the counters and people from the administrative apparatus of the company, said the authorized director of the post office, Miroslav Štěpán, to the Seznam Zprávy website. The reason is the declining interest in postal services. At the same time, he confirmed the previously published intention to close 300 post office branches. The state-owned enterprise currently operates 3,200 branches and employs approximately 25,000 people.
Interest in letter and money services, in particular, has fallen by roughly 40 percent since 2019, Štěpán reports. According to him, another dramatic decrease in shipments was caused by the obligation for entrepreneurs to communicate with the state through data boxes. The company therefore proposes to reduce the number of branches from the current 3,200 to 2,900.
According to Štěpán, the post office will also have to respond to the cancellation of branches by dismissing service personnel. “In the first phase as of July 1, we are talking about lower units of thousands,” he said. These will be counter workers, foot mail carriers and those who deliver letters by car. The third group will be part of the post office's administrative apparatus.
Štěpán also confirmed the previously published plan to close branches, which is now in the interdepartmental government comment procedure. The limitation of the branch network should concern Prague, all regional towns and the vast majority of district towns. Conversely, in small villages with a single branch, the post office will remain. “On the face of it, I say that it continues to be true that our strategic and long-term interest is to resolve the provision of postal services in the form of the so-called Pošta Partner,” he told Seznam Zprávám.
ČP has been operating at a loss in recent years. Last year, the state enterprise reported a loss of 1.5 billion crowns. Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan (STAN), under whose department the post office falls, said last week that if the company does not start transformational steps, it may become insolvent by the end of the year.
Štěpán is convinced that the post office is unable to exist only from its own income and will therefore need financial support from external sources. “Either it can be commercial external resources, or it can be public financial resources, or it can be some guarantees and guarantees for commercial resources,” he told Seznam Zprávám. He added that it will be an amount higher than one billion crowns.
In recent years, ČP has been in the red. Last year, it reduced its loss by half to 681 million crowns. In the previous year, it reported a drop of 1.37 billion crowns. Last year, after approval by the European Commission, it received reimbursement of the costs of providing basic services from the state for the last four years in the amount of six billion crowns. She had to use the finance to a large extent to repay operating loans.