The news is surprising. Christian Levrat was recently elected head of the Garanto customs staff union for four years. And he had announced that he would stand for election for the Council of State in Friborg in 2021.
In case of election, he will have to put aside his political career. In front of the press, the Fribourgeois immediately announced that he would quit his position as senator on October 1 and renounce his Friborg aspirations, as well as his trade union mandate. The Socialist Party will thus lose one of its heavyweights.
As a socialist and trade unionist, Christian Levrat has also often opposed restructuring plans and the directions of the yellow giant. Head of the Communication Union, he was notably on the front lines during the conflict with La Poste in 2004. Sorting centers were then blocked by employees of the yellow giant.
“During the 18 years spent in Parliament, I believe I have opposed all the federal councilors,” added the Fribourgeois, admitting to having been faced with a difficult choice. In the end, taking the helm of the “flagship of public service in Switzerland” won. “It is a way of serving the community in a different way than in politics. The development of La Poste seems to me to be decisive for the quality of the public service.”
Asked about his reaction in the event of the privatization of the company, the Fribourgeois has somewhat kicked in touch. “Three questions must be clarified by the sole shareholder of the Post, namely the Confederation: access to other services, such as mortgage loans or loans for SMEs, the Postfinance status and the question of liquidity.”
“It is the owner and the policy which decide”, also recalled the Minister of Communication Simonetta Sommaruga. The board of directors implements the decisions.
In his eyes, Christian Levrat fulfills all the criteria for the post. “He has extensive industry knowledge and political connections. He also has an understanding for public service and an ability to assert himself, and he enjoys the acceptance of the staff.”
The Federal Councilor recalled that the Fribourgeois knows very well the companies linked to the Confederation thanks to his political experience. First a Member of Parliament, then a Senator, he spent many years on the Transport and Telecommunications Committee. Currently, he serves as chairman of the commission for the economy and royalties.
Many challenges await the socialist. Over-the-counter transactions and the volume of letters are steadily declining. Despite the increase in parcel volumes thanks to e-commerce, margins are low and competition is intensifying. La Poste’s revenues are constantly decreasing and the financing of the universal service by its own means is threatened.
The company has already taken measures as part of its strategy for the years 2021-2024. It is facing an important process of transformation. “At the same time, the pandemic has shown how central a universal service is for the cohesion between towns and the countryside and the different regions of Switzerland”, pointed out Simonetta Sommaruga.
Successor of Urs Schwaller
Christian Levrat should be appointed at the general meeting of La Poste on April 27. He will take up his duties on December 1. The Socialist will succeed Urs Schwaller, who will step down at the end of November. Also from Friborg, he has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2016.
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