BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - As a result of the planned reform of the Postal Act, sending a letter is likely to take considerably longer in future. This is because there are no signs of any significant resistance from the various parties' parliamentary groups in the Bundestag regarding a key aspect of the amendment: Regulations on so-called letter delivery times are to be relaxed so that the postal service can reduce its costs. This aspect of the reform is undisputed, dpa was told by the SPD, Greens, FDP and CDU/CSU. The reason given was that demand has changed in the face of digitalization and it is no longer so important that a letter arrives as quickly as possible. What is more important is that it arrives reliably.

Until now, Deutsche Post has had to deliver at least 80 percent of posted letters on the next working day and 95 percent on the second working day. Because of this time pressure, airplanes are still flying around Germany at night to deliver letters from the south to the north and vice versa. According to a proposal by the Federal Ministry of Economics, in future it will be mandatory for 95% of letters to reach the recipient on the third day after posting and 99% on the fourth day. This reduced time pressure would enable Swiss Post to cut costs and cancel night flights. For consumers, however, this means that the average waiting time for letters will be longer than before.

However, Swiss Post not only delivers letters, small parcels and packages, but increasingly also newspapers and magazines. In view of the new delivery times, publishers are concerned that the print editions they send by post will arrive late. If delivery is delayed by one or two days, many loyal readers are frustrated and threatened to cancel their subscriptions. "We want our readers to receive their newspapers and magazines delivered by post on time," emphasized the Media Association of the Free Press (MVFP) and the Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) in a joint statement.

Following an initial debate in the Bundestag on Wednesday evening, internal consultations between specialist politicians will now begin in the Bundestag and the amendment to the law is expected to be completed in the spring. The question of whether the use of subcontractors will be restricted is still controversial. The Bundesrat is even calling for a ban on subcontractors that are not bound by collective agreements - which is likely to be most of the companies that have been working as contractors to date./wdw/DP/zb