Swiss Post



Remember my earlier story titled "Sending Out The Letters"? You know the one where I praised the efficiency of the Swiss postal service. Well, it looks like I'm going to have to demote them to the same league as Spain and Italy.

Government-owned Swiss Post, with over 55,000 employees, is Switzerland's second largest employer. Last year its 2,000 postal buses carried over 95 million passengers. Revenues generated in 2001 were over $4.1 billion.

Headquarters for Swiss Post is an eight-story building shaped like a cross. The Swiss Post logo sits atop the sides of the building Built in 1966, it's two miles from Bern's city center amid a residential area. Over 1,200 employees work here.

I show up around 12:30 and though I know it's lunchtime, sometimes I catch people working at their desk. I check in with the receptionist and ask if she can call CEO Ulrich Gygi's secretary to find out who's my contact person. The receptionist says Gygi's secretary is out to lunch. I then ask if she could call someone in corporate communications or public relations because many times they end up with my letter. The receptionist says this isn't possible because "there are so many people". So, I take a seat in the lobby and wait. It's 1:30 PM and I'm still waiting. It's 2:PM and I'm still waiting. Jeez, I can't leave now because I've already wasted an hour and a half waiting. Several minutes more go by and then Gygi's secretary appears. I explain what I do and she says they never received my letter of introduction. "Oh no, how can that be? I respond in dismay, "the letter was mailed a month ago from Lausanne-only 50 miles away!" I go on to say, "Jeez, I recently wrote a story praising your efficiency". I ask if it was possible that someone else might have opened the letter and Gygi's secretary assures me that she opens all his mail.

Calls are made and Gygi's secretary arranges for Francois Tissot-Daguette from corporate communications to answers my questions. Though there are no recreational facilities there is a "quiet room" where employees can go to relax. Massages are available. Smoking is allowed in the offices, there's covered parking for cyclists and it's a two hour drive to Geneva Airport. Bern does have an airport but connections are limited. I can't see CEO Gygi's fourth floor office or boardroom because Tissot-Daguette says this was sprung on him without any advance warning. Any employee perks? Special rates on postal accounts and half-price tickets on the postal buses.