TNT Logistics Sale Close, Revenues Rise

TNT N.V., which operates express and mail services, reported operating income grew 10.7% in the second quarter of 2006. All business segments showed revenue growth, and Express reached a record 10.4% margin. The operating margin for the Mail unit rose to 21.2%, supported by some one-time items.

The company carries its logistics unit as “discontinued operations,” but reported organic revenue growth of 4.1% in the second quarter. Total revenues were down, said TNT, due to the sale of its French operations. Operating income was €27 million (euros).

Significant for the logistics community, TNT CEO Peter Bakker said the sale of TNT Logistics, which was announced in December 2005, should be completed before the end of the third quarter. He offered no further information on a prospective buyer.

Revenues for the logistics unit were €882 million in the second quarter, down 2.9%. First-half results showed revenues of €1,757 million, off just 0.9% from the prior-year period.

While specifics on the sale of the logistics unit are sparse, trade unions in Europe have condemned the company for “refusing to begin proper negotiations on the future of the 36,000 workers of its soon-to-be-sold logistics division.” The global union federations of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Union Network International (UNI) have not opposed the sale, but did express disappointment that TNT, which responded to the unions’ invitation to meet informally, had not agreed to discuss the future for its 36,000 logistics employees.

“Workers are simply asking TNT to ensure that existing terms and conditions, collective bargaining and working arrangements are a condition of the sale to a new buyer,” said the unions.

A union statement noted, “Unions from more than 20 countries have proposed a global Guarantee of Workers Rights aimed at protecting the 36,000 employees whose jobs are up for sale.” The unions feel agreeing to minimum guarantees will provide a stable framework for the sale and beyond. ITF and UNI vowed to take the issue to TNT’s largest clients and to the wider trade union movement if necessary.

Meanwhile, at DHL, the unions launched a two-year project to organize up to 3,000 workers in Hong Kong. UNI described it as “a global strategy to unionize the key hubs of one of the world’s leading logistic and integrator multinationals.”

UNI-Asia Pacific is targeting the four big integrators in the region, DHL, FedEx, TNT and UPS.

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