La Poste is abolishing its red stamp for urgent mail on January 1, replacing it with a red e-Letter, and this new formula is perplexing everyone. In short, users can type their mail on the group’s site or scan it at their post office. The document will then be printed near the addressee, put in an envelope and distributed the next day.
There are multiple unknowns in the equation: what about the forgotten digital people, without a computer or without the necessary knowledge, without counting on the fear of hacking in the group’s secure data centers where the letters will be kept, or the maintenance of privacy and secrecy of correspondence since the agents will have to scan the mail using a mobile phone… Prune Helfter-Noah, co-spokesperson for the collective Nos services publiques and elected EE-LV at the town hall of the 4th and 5th arrondissements of Marseille, deciphers the faults (many) and the advantages (zero) of this new system.
How do you perceive this new formula?
This is a decision that comes into effect on January 1, but it was announced some time ago. What is most striking, when you go to the site of the Post Office, is the narrative used to justify it. It seems totally removed from the real motivations of the company. According to the arguments deployed, this new service is set up to meet the needs and changes in user practices, to reduce the ecological impact… This last point alone is debatable: the user will go to his post office with his written letter, the mail will be dematerialized then rematerialized [imprimé ndlr] then, before being kept for a year on the servers of the Post Office… The profit is not obvious.
Is there a dimension of greenwashing?
If we let ourselves be taken in by the fable that is told to us… yes. Still have to believe it. Regarding the needs of users, I do not feel that there was a great satisfaction survey to remove this red stamp. However, 300 million priority letters per year is not nothing.
We also point to the wide-open digital divide…
Yes of course. But like the question of security, this seems almost secondary to me as this service does not meet any need. It’s completely artificial. We do not see what type of user this corresponds to. Why would people who have a computer and who use e-mail pay 1.49 euros, an insane price, for such a letter, with all the hazards that this system entails? Conversely, because some people need it and/or because they don’t have a computer, we don’t see why they would bother using this red e-Letter. They will use the green stamp or the new turquoise stamp, the “Lettre service plus”.
If it does not meet any need, why this reform?
The reform is absurd: exploded prices – we are talking about turquoise stamps at 3 euros! – the degraded service… In reality, it is only a clumsy and badly assumed way of suppressing priority mail. The slow and priority mail distribution system, with two classes of stamps, green and red, was introduced in 2011. La Poste had already largely oriented in recent years towards the use of the green stamp, the delivery times for priority mail being less and less respected.
What is the interest for the group?
Since 2010, Swiss Post has been a public limited company. What we can imagine is that there are products that are more profitable than others, and that she wants to cut off one of the least profitable branches. This is the normal reasoning of a company. A priori fewer postal workers, less human resources management, reduction in payroll… It’s logical. The problem is that there is an inversion of values. We no longer have this service that starts from the interests of users, we have a company that seeks to maximize its profits. On arrival, we will have the abolition of a public service. It is something very serious.