Belgian post wants to engage refugees

Bpost, the Belgian post company, is working on a plan to hire officially recognised refugees, De Standaard reports. The plan should allow Bpost to engage immigrants who were granted a residence permit and who have been here for some time.

"This is a priority to us", explains Barbara Van Speybroeck of Bpost. "But you can't just take on someone who is relatively new in Belgium and send him or her out to deliver the mail. We want to create a framework in which we can help immigrants to take up the job of postman."

"On the other hand, we have had a major campaign running for some months to find extra staff. We are looking for quite a number of new people across the country."

In the short term, Bpost will engage 60 new employees. In the longer run, there are talks of hundreds of postmen. Bpost is also counting on local municipalities to help them find the right persons. They asked 50 to 60 local towns and cities to help them spread the word, e.g. in the Flemish area around Brussels, the Belgian coast and Antwerp. The campaign will also be printed on 100,000 bread bags.

Work pressure has increased a lot over the past years, as jobs were being axed and efficiency was stepped up. Many postman are complaining they can hardly cope. Trades union hope the new candidates from abroad will receive a proper training.