Postal and telecommunications services sector

Postal services transport mail and small packages to destinations around the world, and they are mostly public corporations. However, there has been increased privatization of postal operators in the past 20 years, and government restrictions on private postal services have eased. Postal authorities are often also involved in telecommunications, logistics, financial services and other business areas. Postal operations involve providing domestic and international postal services – receipt, transport and delivery of mail, specialized mailing services, operation of postal facilities and sale of postal, philatelic and mailing supplies. The world postal network in 2009 was based on around 650,000 post offices and 5.5 million postal employees (one-third women and 20 per cent part-time) providing postal services throughout the world. There are around 8 million postal workers overall (including private and informal services, and parts of courier services).

Telecommunication services
– using telephones, radio and microwave communications, as well as fibre optics, satellites and the Internet – play a crucial role in the world economy. The worldwide telecommunication services revenue of the industry was estimated to be around $1.8 trillion in 2010. The total workforce in telecommunications services is estimated to be about 6 million, of whom 20 per cent are women.

About 4.5 million workers from the postal and telecommunications services sector are affiliated to global union federations. Major trends include rapid technological developments, deregulation and privatization, and the proliferation of new high-value services. Social dialogue plays a significant role in developing joint strategies by the social partners to improve services, with the common goal of extending access to postal and telecommunications services to all communities, enhancing efficiency of delivery and reviewing prospects for the industry. A key issue in the sector is respect for collective bargaining and avoiding breakdown in the provision of postal and telecommunications services where possible.