(photo credit: REUTERS)
Outgoing Communications Minister Gilad Erdan approved a reform to the Israel Postal Company on Monday night during his final hours in the position before moving on to head the Interior Ministry.
“We are launching an advanced and innovative reform outline that will raise the postal service to a growth track and allow it to provide new services and, most importantly, will improve the service at the post office branches that the public currently suffers from,” Erdan said.
The reform, signed alongside Finance Minister Yair Lapid, follows an agreement reached last month between the government and the Histadrut labor federation, which had led several weeks of strikes over the reforms.
Most significantly, mail will only be delivered every other weekday for a period of two years, at which point service will be reduced to two days a week.
Branches will operate for longer hours, staying open from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. three days a week.
Ninety percent of registered mail will have to be delivered to homes, instead of forcing customers to come into the post office to collect it.
Branches will be inspected for waiting times, which are to average no more than ten minutes.
There will also be a consolidation of post offices for better efficiency.
The Histadrut strikes followed the breakdown of negotiations over plans to replace 1,500 full-time workers with cheaper contract workers.
In the end, the company’s staff will be reduced from 6,200 workers to 5,000 workers.
The plan also called for selling off 20% of the company to “strategic investors,” with the option of expanding that amount to a 40% stake.