• Germany's news in English

Fastest postie charged for being too quick

The Local · 3 Jan 2013, 11:02

Published: 03 Jan 2013 11:02 GMT+01:00

The 53-year-old postie from Rosenheim near Munich came under suspicion when colleagues realized he was faster at the job than they were - and one of them reported him, assuming he was throwing away the mail instead of delivering it.

The Münchner Merkur newspaper reported on Thursday how the case ended up at the administrative court in Aibling and how the court heard he had ignored post office rules to make his working day more efficient.

He told the court how he had been saving time after working out quicker routes between the postal depots - where mail is held for postmen and women to pick up and then deliver.

Judge Isabella Hubert also heard that he was considered a precise and efficient worker.

His immediate boss admitted knowing at least in part about the man's time-saving methods, and said she had informally tolerated them.

"I admit that some of them are possibly logical," she said - but said they could not be officially accepted as they did not fit the rules.

The court case against him was dismissed, but it was not recorded whether he would have to return to a less efficient way of working.

Story continues below…

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:07 January 3, 2013 by MattyB
Faster? More efficient? Ppfffttt....

Nothing stands in the way of bureaucracy!!!!
13:01 January 3, 2013 by auslanderus
His fellow workers were upset that he was doing his job faster than they were, well maybe they needs to off there dead butts and learn a lesson. Then to have his boss try and make things bad for him is really dummm. Any company would or should have a man like him for he is doing his job quicker.
13:31 January 3, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
It is probably an insurance issue. He is not insured for an accident if he deviates from his designated route.
14:38 January 3, 2013 by SKorbel
sounds like a Seinfeld episode!
14:59 January 3, 2013 by coffeelover
Was eist? I thought us Germans were supposed to be more efficient!! No worries, I cut 1-4 hours off my delivery routes, and got canned too, so the world wants inefficient people now, not fuel, wear-and-tear savings at all. So my Danish grandfather was wrong about striving to work better, and show co-workers how to work more efficient at the same time. Was anything our parents, grandfathers taught us true? You can laugh at my pathetic attempt to quote German language, the world is laughing at the German post office too.
15:24 January 3, 2013 by raandy
It is amazing how his co workers immediately drew the conclusion that he was throwing mail away. Always the negative.

His boss says I tolerated it. It was possibly logical. She could have looked into it as a possible means of becoming more efficient for the delivery system and gave him a bonus.

No, no way , every thing here is based on a pyramid management system , innovation starts only from the top and goes down not from the bottom upward.
15:44 January 3, 2013 by 9900lawre
I agree! The world is laughing at the German Post Office, but don't be fooled into thinking this is the only such case in the world. The fact that money was wasted with this going to a court and not being spent on an employee of the month award is amazing beyond words.

Another story that puts into the spotlight companies who hide behind rules for their own advantage. Frightened of work and sfrightened of repercussion.
17:00 January 3, 2013 by finanzdoktor
So, the real issue here was not his efficiency, but how his efficiency made others look bad. Guess if he had been less efficient than the others, he would have gotten the Employee of the Month award, and his boss/supervisor would not have had to tolerate his performance.

What a crazy, backward way to run a business. Wonder what its customers and shareholders think of this?
17:48 January 3, 2013 by michael4096
There isn't enough information for the conclusions being drawn by posters here. I have learned to respect many German processes, they are generally well thought out and there for a reason. I haven't seen as much time and effort spent on trying to get processes correct in any other country in Europe or North America. Which leads me to think that it was the means by which our postie was subverting the process which caused the problem. Not that he was too efficient.

Maybe it was insurance as someone said, maybe it was another issue, but I'll bet that there was something not being said.
19:18 January 3, 2013 by The-ex-pat
Maybe someone can explain how on earth this ended up in a court of law. If he had thrown mail away then there must have been evidence, however it was shown that he was in fact quicker. It is of no interest to the law of the land what route he takes, that is between him and his employees. Either the Local has not printed all the facts or the police and the Staatsanwaltschaft are the most incompetent people in that land are writing the law as they see fit............
19:18 January 3, 2013 by Big L
I just returned home after a wonderful visit to Germany and I must say I have observed (much to my surprise) how Germans seem to be really efficient in most things but at the same time they seem to love bureaucracy, lots of complicated paper work and over - regulation of almost everything. How do Germans see this topic?
19:43 January 3, 2013 by ridac
Now this is typical Germany, rules must be followed even they are less productive. Flexibility is tabu!!!!

As they say 'Ordnung muss sein'
20:25 January 3, 2013 by wood artist
At the risk of assuming, the article seems to suggest that his "official route" was from A to B to C, and he found a better way going from A to C. I would think that insurance would still cover him as long as the new way was legal.

This is, however, an unfortunate side-effect of unions. Since everybody gets paid the same base wage, there is no incentive (and, in fact a dis-incentive) to innovate or improve things. Not only does it get you nowhere, your co-workers will jump on anyone who works harder, or appears to be more effective. In that respect, unions tend to demonize the very people we should emulate.

I suspect the supervisor noticed, asked, and he explained what he was doing, and it didn't involve throwing away mail. With that, the supervisor should have acted to make his actions "officially okay" but dropped the ball. At least the supervisor stood up for him in court.

21:43 January 3, 2013 by NEUEVILLA
I don't know in which world michael4096 lives. I spent nine years auditing and certifying management systems and procedures in Germany. Management may spend a lot of time and effort on procedures and processes, but the outcome proves to be a waste of time. Internal power struggles and ridiculous personnel procedures (under the pretext of data protection) prevent sensible ideas being implemented. My auditing experience encompasses work in the U.K., U.S.A., Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, etc., and Germany are among the worst (with a few very good exceptions).
21:59 January 3, 2013 by raandy
wa I would say that pretty well sums it up, its not an innovative system with a suggestion box.
23:48 January 3, 2013 by Russell E. Willis
Proverbs 18:9 ( KJV; 1611 EDITION ) reads as follows:

"Hee also that is slouthful in his worke, is brother to him that is a great waster."

It is sad that the postal worker had a case brought against him simply because he worked out "quicker routes between the postal depots." The Holy Bible teaches that it is a sin to be slothful in one's work.

Sincerely in Christ,

Russell E. Willis

P.S. - Please read Proverbs 23:23.
03:46 January 4, 2013 by hanskarl
I wonder if Verdi defended or prosecuted him.......................
09:27 January 4, 2013 by Kumars24
Guys...Pls understand its not the efficiency of the worker which bothered his colleagues. Its the way he did his job that mattered. To save time he must have waited at each delivery less time and instead of delivering the goods he might have just dropped the pickup bills. This eventually load others working in office where many people turn out to collect their goods. I am telling from my own experience that every time I receive anything from DHL I have to go to post office and collect from there. Even though my wife is at home all the time this guy from DHL comes and rings the bell and stays for 2 seconds and leaves dropping the pick up paper. Its good thing that somebody filed case against him.
11:16 January 4, 2013 by wood artist

If that were the case, I'd agree. However, based upon the article, he seems to have simply been cutting time by using short-cuts to go from A to B. He could, for example, avoid riding 20 blocks by taking a pathway through a park or whatever. It's interesting that there is no discussion about him failing service or whatever, so I suspect that wasn't his approach. Also, considering he told his supervisor what he was doing, I doubt the short wait on a drop tag would have been met with acceptance.

My delivery person regularly leaves a drop tag even when I'm home. I have a long driveway and he simply doesn't like to actually work. Each time I go claim the package and fill out a formal complaint since I KNOW I was home at the time, and he made no effort to meet the standards...which include an attempt at the door before leaving the tag. The last two times it's gone to a formal hearing, and each time he's admitted he didn't bother, claiming "it's a long driveway and there's a dog." Of course, I've simply responded with..."it's not that long, and I haven't owned a dog for nearly 20 years." Even the union has trouble defending his actions.

I think your observation is correct, but the "way he did his job" wasn't necessarily bad, nor forcing work upon others. It simply made others look bad, and might have violated some safety rules...which suggests the rules need to be examined to see if they really make sense.

11:16 January 4, 2013 by MattyB
17:00 January 3, 2013 by finanzdoktor

So, the real issue here was not his efficiency, but how his efficiency made others look bad.

Sounds like a union issue. At least in the US it would. Heaven help you if you are a non-union worker and you are more efficient than, or worker longer/harder than, your union co-workers. They'll be filing complaints left and right against you.
15:09 January 4, 2013 by michael4096
@NEUEVILLA - "I don't know in which world michael4096 lives."

I live in a world where Germany makes its living from high quality manufactured goods and it is very, very good at it. And, as an auditor, you surely know that quality production begins and ends with process.

I've also had the privilege of working in all of the countries you mention and many more and found power struggles and a waste of good ideas pretty universal. That they often manifest themselves in Germany as process issues is not a great surprise. In other countries, they appear more as personality issues or status issues or some other problem. It just underlines my point that there probably is - or was - method in the apparent madness of the inefficient postie routing which has been lost somewhere.
15:45 January 4, 2013 by kparsels
The USA isn't far behind, what business is it to the other workers. is competition forbidden in Germany? I always thought of Germany as a very efficient society. I guess it's just the private sector not the government bureaucracy.
15:53 January 4, 2013 by ErnestPayne
Promote the man or give him a job working out more efficient routes. A lot of industries would find his industriousness worthwhile.
16:25 January 4, 2013 by dinerouk
I agree with 'finanzdoctor'. It would not be in the interests of union practise to make the work easier than it has been done for years, if everyone did that kind of thing then people would be made redundant ('streamlined').
18:09 January 4, 2013 by Englishted
Some people here are using this as a union bashing story.

Hold on, what if he was throwing away the post should they not of reported him ?,

and try looking at some of the practices the none union parcel services use for example giving times between drops that are impossible unless the driver breaks the legal speed limit (proved on many T.V. shows).

The other classic lorry drivers sent out to work in poorly maintained lorries ,who if they refuse are sacked ,but if they drive and are stopped by the police are responsible and are fined and or banned while the employers get nothing .

In Europe working conditions only improved when unions started or would you wish to return to the "good old days " .
20:04 January 4, 2013 by quiller
In the British Navy of the 17th century, you could be flogged before the mast for making suggestions or implying an officer was a little behind the 8 card. I do not see why such rules and regulations could not be applied to postmen in the German Post Office who deviate from rules and regulations. After all Orders are Orders. Workers thinking for themselves - whatever next? Maybe a challenge to the director general?
20:18 January 4, 2013 by ivan rehn
Was he the last one being born in West Germany?
23:19 January 4, 2013 by c'est la vie
Well I spent a lot of time working on multiple projects across Germany and have been pretty amazed of the efficiency, proff of concept and most importantly meeting the deadline`s, but did also just before that spend a few years working in Greece where they spend more time talking about football and attacking each other then putting any thing down on paper, So perhaps I was easily influenced…

But the rumors we`re getting now is that the German government has lowered the level of required certifications & qualifications to improve employment rates and this is starting to effect quality work across all sectors, is this true? Is the ¦quot;Made in Germany¦quot; going to perhaps loss it`s image?

And I live in France, So I`m not even going to talk about how the unions have condemned us to death!!
01:38 January 5, 2013 by spbigger
It appears that his fellow workers amd supervisors are members of an American union .
02:13 January 5, 2013 by Landmine
This can only happen in Germany of all places.... In America, this is expected and the guy would probably have been given an award.

To take him to court is just an a$$ backwards mentality....
18:25 January 5, 2013 by bugger
Rule # 1:

There are no rules.
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