Who wants to work for the post office? Insight into Italy’s uncertain future


Forget the myth of permanent employment, secure employment for life. In Verona, we are looking for postal workers, but we cannot find them. Nor do they find them in Bolzano or Turin. There is a shortage of labor in post offices in northeastern Italy and a shortage in the northwest.

The postman has never been more in demand than today. To tell the truth: few actual letters but many more parcels to deliver. Postal workers are offered a one-year fixed-term contract at 1,100 euros per month, before having the opportunity to move up the ladder and land a job for life within two to three years. A national contract, annual leave, health insurance and workers’ rights. Yet the last call for applications in Verona was almost completely empty.

“We are looking for candidates, but we are getting fewer and fewer than we would like,” says Alessandra Bastianello, delivery manager at Italian post in the province of Verona. “Maybe they don’t come because they don’t know how easy it is to apply, or maybe they don’t know we can offer job security and career prospects. career. It’s not at all clear that those who start out as postal workers will do this job forever. There are avenues for growth. Some people started that way and now run a small office. Here in Verona alone, we We hired 56 people in 2020 and 47 in 2021.”

Economic recovery in action

Verona may be a wealthy city, but during the darkest period of the COVID-19 lockdown, 6,000 people out of a population of 259,000 applied for vouchers, with the municipality only able to help half of them. In the past, far fewer support requests were submitted, all of which were accepted.

The economy has recovered, however, and in recent months even the province’s largest logistics companies have struggled to find workers. “The job of postman is tiring, riding a scooter in the rain, freezing temperatures and scorching heat. We are always outside, you have to be organized and know the territory well”, explains Antonio Lo Presti, Secretary General of the Union Verona Postal Workers (CISL). “The data is objective. We are struggling to find new factors.”

So why is there a lack of new postal workers? There are several reasons. In Veneto, many young people have the opportunity to earn more money from their first job. In the past it was also easier to get in, the process was faster. “Even the entrance tests are complicated,” says Lo Presti.

A postman on a scooter in Italy

Pierre Teyssot/Sports Image/Newscom via ZUMA

Another factor is clearly linked to the management of the beneficiaries of the “citizen income” program, launched in 2019, considered as a first step towards a universal basic income to provide a basic social allowance to those who have no income. use. Lo Presti says that people with “citizen income” are not called for this type of job. “Still, they should be called and often they should be the first,” says Lo Presti. “Poste Italiane cannot call them directly, but the employment centers should link the two parties. This is not happening. I don’t know why. But no one is calling them. Citizenship income is a fundamental instrument, but it is not very concrete.”

Of the 10,200 unemployed people hired in the past three years by the municipality of Verona, only 40 were employed for public service work in the city’s schools, maintenance and gardens. Today, 3,284 people in Verona need help.

Restaurants, tourism and the service sector are still suffering.

“The vast majority are fragile people, with various difficulties, and I don’t think it will be easy to integrate them into the labor market,” said the municipal councilor in charge of social policies, Maria Daniela Maellare. “I cannot explain this lack of postal workers. Perhaps there is a problem with the selection criteria. In Verona, the labor market is picking up almost everywhere, but catering, tourism and the services are still suffering.”

So they are looking for postmen in the city of Verona. In the rich northeast of Italy. You need a driver’s license to take the test on the 125cc scooter provided by the company. Finally, if they are chosen, the workers are offered a secure salary, 1,100 euros per month and more: the famous permanent position.

Factors are sought in the plains and valleys, in the mountain villages. In all regions of northern and central Italy. In three provinces of Emilia, in two of Tuscany. Advertisements require qualified postmen, able to cover routes and be responsible in their deliveries. It’s not true that Italian workers don’t want to get involved, to change, to seek. In the coming months, in Verona itself, 59 permanent jobs will be created at the Post Office: 57 of them are workers from other regions of Italy.

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