A La Poste parcel sorting center, near Toulouse.



  • Containment blew up the number of packages sent.

  • La Poste recruited thousands of people to provide logistics at the end of the year.

  • But the unions point to the lack of staff and the risk of exhaustion of the teams in December.

Will the last game console or the “Super Papa” mug be at the foot of the tree on December 25?

Or will they spend Christmas at the bottom of a box, stored in a warehouse?

Like every year, meeting the deadlines for sending gifts is a real headache for delivery companies, faced with massive flows of packages to be processed over a very short period (or " 

peak period

 " in their jargon).

Already delicate in normal times, exercise has become even more complicated with the coronavirus.

With containment and stores closed in November, the French have indeed gotten into the habit of ordering massively online, thus increasing the number of packages to be processed.

In a video communication posted at the beginning of November, Xavier Mallet, CEO of Colissimo, summed up the challenges for the end of the year: “It's 100 million parcels to be delivered in November and December, twice as many as 'five years ago, 30% more than last year […].

In France, we are experiencing three years of growth in one.

[…] The expectations of our customers are immense, e-merchants of course, but also stores which have set up Internet channels to continue selling.


"It is better to send them now rather than on December 15th"

It is therefore the entire logistics chain - collection, sorting, distribution - which finds itself in tension.

What to fear delivery delays between now and Christmas?

A hypothesis confirmed by… the CEO of La Poste himself, at the end of November, on the set of



Asked about the difficulty of delivering on time given the exceptional volume of parcels, Philippe Wahl replied: “They will all arrive as well as possible.

[…] A little late perhaps.


However, the company has planned reinforcements to manage the holiday season.

Nearly 9,000 temporary workers or fixed-term contracts have been recruited and are distributed over sorting centers, at post office counters or on delivery.

In addition, La Poste has also anticipated the “natural” growth of the parcels activity (+ 11% each year since 2014) by opening several new platforms, such as that of Douvrin (North), capable of processing 350,000 parcels per day.

Overworked factors?

And yet, all of these efforts may not be enough.

“You can't put more than the pipe can fit.

At some point, they will surely not be able to take everything, confides a unionist from the group to

20 Minutes.

But they can't say it officially.

So we will have to prioritize.

"Prioritizing means giving priority to the delivery of parcels over conventional mail, in particular for postmen responsible for making" mixed "rounds (parcels and mail).

“The first feedback that reaches us shows factors buried under the work, testifies Jean-Philippe Lacout, of the Force Ouvrière union.

So yes, they are going to do their best because they are attached to the company and they want everyone to have their gifts.

But they will force, and then inevitably the physique ends up letting go.

After the holidays, with slackening, you have the risk that the absenteeism rate increases due to overwork.


Insufficient staff?

The unions therefore estimate that the 9,000 additional people announced by the Post Office will not be enough to process all the parcels on time.

For Force Ouvrière, it would take “4,000 to 5,000 people” more.

Sud PTT goes even further and asks for "20,000 people" for reinforcement.

"After the first confinement, 14,000 temporary workers and fixed-term contracts were dismissed," explains Thierry Lagoutte, member of the federal office.

At a minimum, it would therefore be necessary to rehire as many people as in March-April, in addition to the 9,000 recruitments already recorded ”.

The trade unionist also believes that the Post office should increase the remuneration of its subcontractors, who often operate in large cities: “they are paid per package delivered.

If we don't pay more, they won't be able to hire or buy new vehicles and this will worsen their already very difficult working conditions.


Finally, the best advice we can give for Christmas parcels is that formulated by the CEO of La Poste at the end of November: "Where you can help us and help you is to send them as soon as possible. possible.

It is better to send them now rather than December 15th, because that will be the peak of the peak ”.

You have been warned.


Christmas: With the health crisis, La Poste expects to process 4 million parcels per day in mid-December


Containment: How will the postponement of Black Friday go?

  • Confinement

  • Covid 19

  • Coronavirus

  • The post office

  • Economy

  • Christmas