Major shake-up planned at Swiss Post: What you need to know

Major shake-up planned at Swiss Post: What you need to know

In a bid to reduce costs at the national postal service, the Swiss government has announced major changes to how Swiss Post will operate in the future. Some of the measures include slowing down conventional postage and not delivering to all parts of Switzerland. Here’s what you need to know.

Swiss Post beset with financial challenges

Speaking at a press conference, Communications Minister Albert Rösti (SVP) confirmed that they would be changing the “basic service” mandate of Swiss Post, the country’s national postal provider. He noted that the company has been beset with financial difficulties in recent years, mainly due to “digital change.”

Indeed, the minister explained that the number of letters being sent via the postal service has fallen by a third in the last 10 years, while the number of cash deposits made to post office branches has fallen by two-thirds. “By 2030, Swiss Post expects a further reduction in letter volume of around 30 percent. Cash deposits could even fall by 80 percent,” a statement from the Federal Council added.

All these factors led to an operating loss of 93 million francs in 2023. While the state-owned firm has tried to stem the flow by offering new products like mobile phone packages and announcing it would close one in five post office branches in the next four years, the Federal Council said that major reforms to what the service provides are “unavoidable.”

The reforms to the Swiss postal service explained

Therefore, the services offered by Swiss Post will be heavily modified in the future. Here’s what you need to know about the changes:

1. Swiss postal service allowed to deliver post and packages at a slower pace

First, from 2026 the current rules, which require that 97 percent of letters and 95 percent of packages arrive within a designated timeframe (defined by A and B-class post), the government will cut this requirement down to 90 percent for both parcels and letters. The Federal Council argued that this would relieve the postal service and their workers of high stress and workloads, especially during holidays and events like Christmas and Black Friday. 

2. Swiss Post will not have to deliver to all parts of Switzerland

Second, the post office will only be required to deliver to “settlements that are occupied year-round”. This means that it will no longer be mandated to deliver to homes that are not part of settlements - defined as at least five houses within a hectare of each other. As a result, 20 Minuten estimates that 60.000 households in Switzerland will no longer receive direct post in future.

The Federal Council explained that catering to these homes “forces the post office to invest in an oversized infrastructure that is only used to capacity in exceptional cases. Deliveries to remote houses often involve long journeys for postmen and women.“ For the 60.000 homes affected, the post office will be required to install “alternative solutions” - while undefined, the government used the example of building an external mailbox for isolated communities that are on the postal workers’ route.

3. Digital services and letters offered at post office branches

Finally, the post office will begin a move towards so-called “digital services”. This will include new digital letters - official correspondence online that are given greater security by being sent by Swiss Post - and printing digital letters for those who want them in physical form. Luckily for those who rely on cash over card, the post office mandate will still include issuing Swiss francs.

Swiss Post plan to save millions, government argues

In all, Rösti argued that the plan will save Swiss Post 45 million francs a year from 2026, “temporarily securing” the state-owned companies’ finances. The plan will now be debated until February 2025, when a final draft will be sent to the cantons, associations and other interested parties for comment.

The announcement has been met with dismay from both sides of parliament, with Social Democratic National Councillor David Roth complaining that the denial of service for remote communities is an “absolute breach of taboo.” “Of course, it would be easiest for the post office if everyone picked up their letters at the distribution centre in Härkingen," he joked, adding that the plan is "another step on the part of the media minister to dismantle the public service."

Fears post office reform could lead to "two-class" society

For their part, the Swiss People’s Party are also critical, with National Councillor Thomas Hurter worrying that the restriction of service will lead to a “two-class society.” The Green Party added in a statement that it was against how the proposal was being put forward - in its current form, parliament will not be given a say on the change.

Others, like Green Liberal National Councillor Barbara Schaffner, argued that the measures do not go far enough and do "not dare to adapt the postal service to reality - namely the advancing digitalisation." She argued that the biggest savings could be made by reducing the number of days that Swiss Post delivers, as “urgent things are no longer sent by letter these days anyway…Instead, the Federal Council wants to reduce the reliability of deliveries - that makes no sense to me at all."

Thumb image credit: ArDanMe /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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