A discrimination too far: French overseas consumers pay double for postage


French citizens living overseas territories can pay between two and five times as much to send a parcel as their counterparts in metropolitan France. Now trade unions want to put an end to what they see as yet another “injustice” suffered by those who live in far-flung parts of France. Julien Sartre reports.

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Once again this year Arlette Laugier's daughter will spend Christmas in Paris, 9,000 kilometres from her home, and once again she will have to rely on memories of the fruit from her home rather than receiving a parcel of it for her to enjoy at first hand. For she comes from La Réunion, a French département or 'county' in the Indian Ocean, and her mother who still lives there simply cannot afford to send a parcel of fruit to Paris for the end of year festivities. “Once, four years ago, when lychees and mangos were a euro a kilo, I wanted to send some to my daughter,” recalls Arlette. “It cost me 90 euros. The price of sending [items] is out of all relation to the value of the contents of the parcel. I won't do that again! Yet in the festive period it's one of the few ways I've got to show her that I'm thinking of her and to remind her of this place. Everyone here sends parcels to their children.”