December 4, 2015

PostNL wants to play neighbourhood watch

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:07 pm


Postal workers in the Netherlands don’t have it easy. Over the years, they’ve been sacked in the thousands and have seen their wages dwindle as they went from proper employees to ‘forced freelancers’, giving PostNL reasons to pay them less than minimum wage, but still dictating their terms. Postal workers are students, pensioners and moms who work part-time on bikes delivering mail and are the opposite of the unionized postmen of yesteryear.

If making sure they were at the bottom rung of the employment ladder wasn’t enough, their monopolistic employer client PostNL announced that postal workers could also act as neighbourhood cops and report irregularities to the city like bad behaviour, dog poop and trash out on the wrong day. PostNL would probably ask the city for money to do the city’s job and the postal workers would probably have more to do without it being reflected in their earnings. The city of Schiedam is apparently giving this a go until half December to see if it really makes a difference.

Postal workers are to send pics of the offending people, dog poop or bins to the city using their mobile phone with a ‘special app’. What if they refused to do it or just claim they never see anything wrong and get a bit more money for doing their work? They are freelancers after all, but freelancers with no freedom to negotiate terms. Citizens are already able to report irregularities in their neighbourhood, so why get postal workers to do what citizens already do gladly for free? Because PostNL wants to make even more money off the city and can do so while looking like they care about dog poop. I also don’t picture too many people intervening in case of violence: they’ll more likely be a target than anything else and it’s not their ‘job’.

Blogger Luuk Koleman asks why not get the neighbourhood cops to deliver the mail while they do their rounds? That’s because being a neighbourhood cop is an actual job with a salary and a collective labour agreement.

(Links:, koelman)

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November 16, 2015

Postal worker hoards three year’s worth of mail

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 2:47 pm

The police have found 60 mail bags containing about 13,000 undelivered letters at a Dutch postal worker’s home in Eelde, Drenthe. A local resident filed a formal accusation against PostNL after not having receiving important letters and the police who investigated discovered the mountain of mail at the postal worker’s home.

The worker claimed to be overwhelmed and let her work pile up quite literally from 2012 to August 2015. In 2013 a quick Google search tells us that in Tilburg a postal worker hoarded mail in his shed for three years as well.

Some 20,000 people (lots of women, students and seniors) work mainly part-time delivering mail in the Netherlands, as compared to the image of the full-time possibly unionised mail man. Another quick search using ‘Nederland’ (‘The Netherlands’) and ‘postbode’ (‘mail delivery person’) will regale you with postal workers hoarding mail up and down the land.

Hoarding was not exciting enough for one woman who decided to kick it up a notch and burnt everything to a crisp after just two weeks on the job.


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March 22, 2014

Metropole Orchestra re-records Esquivel

Filed under: Dutch first,Music by Branko Collin @ 12:51 pm

Juan Garcia Esquivel was a Mexican composer of pop music who was one of the pioneers of a genre called Space Age Bachelor Pad Music.

mini-skirt-keller-filmLast year Zone 5300 called the genre “an orchestral cross of lounge pop and exotica”. In 2013 the Hilversum-based Metropole Orchestra, the largest professional pop and jazz orchestra in the world, released an album of re-recorded Esquivel tunes, Perfect Vision. Berlin-based composer Stefan Behrisch was asked to reconstruct the sheet music as the originals had been lost.

One Internet store, ReR MegaCorp, sells and describes the record as follows: “Remember stereo? Not the naturalistic, tasteful stereo but the extreme, weird, psychedelic stereo that has been all but forgotten now? Here it is. Apart from being stunning in its own right, this record makes some wake-up statements about recording and what it can do – and about how far we have moved away from that sensibility.”

Marco Kalnenek’s appraisal is not as excited, but then he isn’t trying to sell the album: “[A] loving tribute to an almost forgotten music director. The arrangements are meticulous and the recording and production are perfect—modern without diminishing the original sound.”

The video by Keller Film shown here is a perfect accompaniment for the Esquivel tune Mini Skirt. The sensibility of the animation is American and 1950s-like, but the theme is modern and Dutch. Boy meets girl, except that the girl is a high earning, Macbook wielding professional and the boy one of the army of under-earning delivery men that sprung up after the market for mail was liberalized in 2009.

See also: Wikipedia on Juan Garcia Esquivel.

(Illustration: screen capture of the video, cropped)

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