Mail monopoly (Germany)

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The letter monopoly was an exclusive license anchored in the Postal Act (PostG), limited until the end of 2005 or 2007, which was granted to Deutsche Post AG for the transport of letters and catalogs up to 100 grams (2005) and 50 grams (2007). It was a supply monopoly , if only over part of the market.

History of the letter monopoly

In Germany, the postal monopoly, i.e. the exclusive right of a provider to be the exclusive provider of the transport service, had a centuries-old tradition. While in the area of ​​freight service the introduction of railways and increasing motorization made the first changes early on and the monopoly was finally abolished entirely, it remained for letters for a very long time. If the reason for the monopoly was initially in the domain of the rulers (with information and control of the flow of information, developments could be better controlled), later it was mainly for solid economic reasons. On the one hand, maintaining a nationwide postal network was time-consuming and expensive, but it was necessary as an infrastructure measure; on the other hand, the transport of mail made considerable profits as long as there was no competition to fear. These parameters were valid until the very end, since Deutsche Post AG, as the owner of the exclusive license, was not only subject to the obligation to contract, but also had to ensure a nationwide basic offer, but was protected from competition in core areas.

Abolition of the letter monopoly

The Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railways (BNetzA) has been granting licenses for the commercial transport of letters to which no weight restrictions apply since 1998 . However, the relevant providers were obliged to provide so-called higher-quality services up to December 31, 2007, such as express delivery on the same day or collection of the mail from the sender. This resulted in additional costs compared to the normal mailing of letters, which generally made it impossible for the licensees to deliver letters more cheaply in "normal mail" than Deutsche Post AG. With the fall of the postal monopoly on January 1, 2008, postal competitors were no longer restricted to the so-called higher-quality services.

Tax aspects (until June 30, 2010)

The problem for competitors was exacerbated in the past by the fact that Deutsche Post AG was exempt from sales tax until June 30, 2010 , but the services of the competitors were fully subject to sales tax. This situation was criticized by the European Union, due to the liberalization of the mail sector in Germany.

After several attempts, the Bundestag and Bundesrat decided in March 2010 to amend the sales tax law. Deutsche Post AG remains exempt from sales tax in the private customer sector, but is subject to sales tax in the business customer sector. The new regulation came into force on July 1, 2010. Since then, the same rule has also applied to Swiss Post competitors, provided they offer their services nationwide.

Post competition

In practice, switching to another mail delivery service is currently only financially worthwhile from a daily volume of approx. 40 mail items, if a collection fee is charged and the lower delivery costs are less significant. Medium to large companies with 1000 or more direct customers are most likely to benefit.

It is estimated that there are currently 1,000 companies in Germany that offer letter delivery - mostly in a regionally limited area. Investors include large publishing houses (e.g. Axel Springer AG , WAZ (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung), Verlagsgesellschaft Madsack , Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group ), foreign postal companies (e.g. PostNL , Swiss Post ) and logistics companies (e.g. . Fiege Group ). In addition, many micro, small and medium-sized companies are active, which, however, are at risk of leaving the market at any time due to quality defects.

As the first potential competitor, Hermes planned to enter the private customer business for mail delivery nationwide from January 1, 2008. Private individuals would then also have been able to deliver letters in the Hermes parcel shops. The parcel shops should have their own mailboxes by the end of 2007 . The mail would have been sent in cooperation with the logistics company TNT , which would have taken over the transport. These plans have been put on hold due to the planned minimum wage .

In the long term, as in other countries in which the mail market has been liberalized or fully opened, the former state-owned company - here Deutsche Post AG - will probably be able to maintain a market share of over 90%. It is questionable whether a tight oligopoly can develop in which, besides DPAG, few other, sufficiently capitalized companies are involved.

The letter monopoly was often justified with the associated universal service .

Situation since the fall of the letter monopoly

The following companies wanted to become active in the mail sector with the fall of the letter monopoly in Germany:

Current providers

Discarded plans

  • TNT Post AG & Co. KG . A joint venture originally planned with Hermes failed due to the resistance of the Hermes Group because of the agreed minimum wages in the postal sector.
  • PIN Group , Luxembourg.
  • Hermes Europe . On December 12, 2007, Hermes had applied to the Federal Ministry of Finance for a VAT exemption for mail services with effect from January 1, 2008. The request was never granted. With the change in the Value Added Tax Act on July 1, 2010, the application became obsolete. To date, Hermes has only been active in the parcel sector in the private customer segment.

Minimum wages for postal services

In September 2007 a heated discussion broke out about a minimum wage at postal companies in Germany. After the postal union ver.di had concluded a collective agreement with the employers' association postal services on a minimum wage of 8.00–9.80 euros per hour, this was heavily criticized by the private postal companies. The German Post AG had abused its leadership in the employers' organization postal services, to dictate high minimum wages for the private postal companies that give them a fair competition is no longer permitted. The private postal companies organized themselves in the employers' association New Letter and Delivery Services (AGV-NBZ), which demanded a significantly lower wage of 6.00–7.50 euros per hour. The federal government did not want to get involved in this dispute between the postal companies.

According to a parliamentary question, the Federal Network Agency was notified of 57 market exits with 5693 jobs between January 1 and April 15, 2008, of which 30 were due to bankruptcy and 27 due to license surrender or business termination or company expiry ; However, no information was available on the overall balance of jobs in the industry or a “direct connection” between market exits and the minimum wage.

PIN Group SA

After the federal government agreed in November 2007 to introduce a minimum wage in the mail delivery sector by incorporating it into the Employee Posting Act (AEntG), Axel Springer AG announced massive opposition. In the publications of Axel Springer AG (especially BILD , BZ , Die Welt, etc.), one-sided information was given about the disadvantages of the minimum wage for mail carriers. In addition, the PIN employees were asked to demonstrate against the Post's minimum wage on October 9, 2007. The PIN Group SA urged their employees to join the union of the New Letter and Delivery Services .

The Axel Springer AG , with 63.7 percent majority shareholder, no additional funds would invest more in the PIN Group SA, so this on 19 December 2007 in the bankruptcy went. After 37 regional subsidiaries with around two-thirds of the 9,000 employees were already in bankruptcy, the new restructuring engineer Horst Piepenburg announced on January 23, 2008 that he wanted to pay the post office minimum wage of 9.80 euros per hour in future.

TNT Post Holding GmbH

The TNT Post Holding Germany GmbH, however, tried to avoid the postal minimum wage by a collective agreement referred for value-added mail services. This was agreed on December 21, 2007 between the employers' association for new letter and delivery services (AGV-NBZ) and the Federal Association of Courier Express Post Services e. V. (BdKEP) and the union of the new letter and delivery services (GNBZ). It only provides for minimum wages of EUR 6.50–7.50 per hour. After the union status of the GNBZ was strongly doubted, the TNT Post Holding concluded a new company wage agreement with the Christian Union Post Service and Telecommunications (CGPT), which stipulated hourly wages between 6.50 euros east and 7.50 euros west from August 2008.

Lawsuits against minimum wages

The employers' association Federal Association of Courier Express Post Services (BdKEP) filed a lawsuit against the minimum postage wage at the Berlin Administrative Court . For its part, the postal union ver.di announced a lawsuit against the postal companies that are not prepared to pay the postal minimum wage. On March 7, 2008, the Berlin administrative court declared the Post's minimum wage to be illegal. The Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs announced that it would immediately appeal to the Higher Administrative Court . Federal Minister of Economics Michael Glos ( CSU ) and the CDU - Mittelstands- und Wirtschaftsvereinigung (MIT) contradicted this immediately. On January 28, 2010, the Federal Administrative Court decided in the last instance that the Post's minimum wage is illegal. A lawsuit by private mail service providers against the postal minimum wage was thus finally upheld.

Chronological sequence

  • In 2002 the federal government changed the postal law at the initiative of Federal Minister Werner Müller , so that the letter monopoly did not expire at the end of 2002, but only at the end of 2007. The agreement between the then CDU opposition and the red-green government came about at 11:58 p.m., two minutes before the end of the deadline for extending the monopoly.
  • November 12, 2003: The Federal Constitutional Court declares Deutsche Post's letter monopoly to be constitutional. That leaves it in accordance period until 2005 / 2007 are made.
  • December 13, 2004: The Hessian Economics Minister Alois Rhiel ( CDU ) and the Lower Saxony Economics Minister Walter Hirche ( FDP ) announce a Federal Council initiative to abolish the letter monopoly in 2006.
  • March 21, 2007: Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück questions the abolition of the letter monopoly because other EU countries refuse to allow foreign companies to send letters.
  • April 24, 2007: The grand coalition agrees not to change Section 51 of the Postal Act again. The monopoly for letters under 50 grams thus fell on January 1, 2008.

See also


  1. ^ Post loses tax privilege n-tv online, March 5, 2010
  2. ^ End of the VAT privilege for Deutsche Post AG Reuters news agency, March 26, 2010
  3. BILD blog - How Bild fights against the minimum wage of October 9, 2007
  4. Printed matter 16/8842 of April 18, 2008
  5. Polar - the dumbing down of the people instead of the people's voice
  6. Pin wants to pay the minimum wage. More bankruptcies are likely. In: . January 23, 2008, accessed December 24, 2014 .
  7. BdKEP press release of December 21, 2007 ( Memento of the original of September 22, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Post competitor does not pay a minimum wage. In: . January 11, 2008, accessed December 24, 2014 .
  9. Berliner Umschau - Post minimum wage comes to court - opponents and supporters file lawsuits - from January 17, 2008
  10. ^ Report Mainz - Sharp criticism of the new collective agreement between TNT and the Christian postal union - from July 28, 2008
  11. - TNT refuses the minimum wage - from January 11, 2008 ( Memento of the original from September 17, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. ^ Processes: Post minimum wage is illegal. In: Focus Online . January 28, 2010, accessed December 24, 2014 .
  13. Success for private competition: court overturns Post's minimum wage. In: Spiegel Online . January 28, 2010, accessed December 24, 2014 .
  14. Steinbrück questions Aus for letter monopoly ( Memento from March 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  15. Defeat for Post: Federal Government abolishes letter monopoly. In: Spiegel Online . April 24, 2007, accessed December 24, 2014 .

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