BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - In the debate about a ban on subcontractors in the parcel industry, the Monopolies Commission has warned of negative consequences for rural areas. "Ultimately, a ban on subcontractors would lead to the destruction of established structures that lead to a sensible supply," said the head of the Monopolies Commission, Jürgen Kühling, on Wednesday in the Bundestag's Economic Affairs Committee in Berlin. There are locally active subcontractors in rural areas who bundle consignments from different companies. This ensures better capacity utilization in these areas. "This is not only very important for the supply in rural areas, but also makes sense from an ecological point of view," he said, referring to the CO2 emissions of the vans.

Subcontractors in the parcel industry are controversial. From Verdi's point of view, companies that are not bound by collective agreements often offer poor working conditions. Sometimes it is a matter of criminal activities, for example when illegal employment is used. Customs also repeatedly express concern about the conditions at subcontractors. The Federal Ministry of Economics is not in favor of a ban in the amendment, the Federal Council is in favor - only if subcontractors are bound by collective agreements should they be allowed to continue. The outdated Postal Act is currently being amended and it is now up to the Bundestag.

A ban on subcontractors would be an effective means of combating violations of labor and social laws, said Verdi Vice President Andrea Kocsis in the committee on Wednesday. No jobs would be lost, but they would be "reorganized" and thus improved. Some subcontractors are involved in "camouflage, trickery and deception", said Frank Norkus, a member of the postal works council who was also present. Deutsche Post/DHL hardly uses subcontractors, whereas most of its parcel competitors do.

Marten Bosselmann from the Biek parcel association, which represents the interests of DHL's competitors, contradicted this statement: "We don't have a disproportionately high level of criminality." It is important that the working conditions are right, said the association chairman, pointing out that the subcontractors offer opportunities to people who do not have a vocational qualification. As a delivery person in Berlin, you get 2500 euros gross per month to start with. "I don't think that's indecent," said Bosselmann.

It is not very likely that the Bundestag will vote for a ban on subcontractors in the parcel sector. There are differing views on the subject within the coalition of the two parties. It is more likely that the rules for subcontracting will be tightened./wdw/DP/men