Demonstrations are regularly organized to defend the post office and its public services. The unions and groups from the left had petitions signed against privatization. Patrick Braillon, Director of Mail Services in Charente-Maritime explains to us why, in his opinion, his business must change.

-What’s changing today with mail activity is that…we have passed from a market which we used to call strong to a market in decline, quite simply because there is less and less mail. Take, for example, the Carte Vitale*. The Carte Vitale has done away with a few million medical insurance forms. The Internet has also replaced mail, so we’re in a declining market, and uh, that’s worrisome. We must adapt. On the other hand, there’s always a positive side to consider, and that’s that Internet activity is generating package deliveries. So, what we’re losing on one side, we’re picking up somewhat on the other.

-In seeing recently the demonstrations to defend public services and, in particular, the post office, we’re seeing the unions saying: ‘The government is withdrawing’, etc. That’s it. How are we responding to what is being said in these demonstrations?

-Listen. We’ve talked a lot about privatizing the post office. What our president wished for was in no way a privatization. It’s acquiring capital, so there’s already a basic difference. The government will remain a majority, and the constitution will protect the post office from this, since in order for the government to withdraw and no longer be a majority shareholder, the constitution would have to be modified. Then, it would be from political legislation and not from business. What the president of the post office hopes for, quite simply, is financial “manna” to be able to continue on, to allow the post office to modernize. As you can see, we’re in buildings which are relatively outdated, and which, for a business such as mail delivery, a vast business, are no longer functional. We need to build new buildings. What’s more is that this poses other problems, since we deliver heavy packages, and we’re in the heart of the city, so in terms of road safety, it’s not very good either. So, we need an injection of capital, like any business, and it’s because of this that our president wanted to aquire capital. In my opinion, it’s a way of stabilizing the business. I think that in today’s world, we mustn’t wait for the government to do everything, and the idea of acquiring capital, on the contrary, I think it will protect our business.

Carte Vitale: plastic card with an integrated circuit which allows one to be directly reimbursed by the National Health Insurance for doctor’s visits and prescription drugs without having to send anything by mail.

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