Royal Mail accused of sacrificing jobs in the wake of privatisation after unveiling plans to shed up to 1,600 posts

File photo dated 04/04/13 of a Royal Mail sign. Royal Mail is consulting on plans to cut 1,600 jobs

File photo dated 04/04/13 of a Royal Mail sign. Royal Mail is consulting on plans to cut 1,600 jobs, the company has said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday March 25, 2014. See PA story INDUSTRY Mail. Photo credit should read: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Royal Mail is planning to axe 1,600 jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive, the company said today.

It said it was due to begin consultations with the Communication Workers Union and Unite over the move which will largely involve managerial positions.

The company, which controversially floated on the Stock Exchange last year, said that 300 new or enhanced positions would also be created, leaving a net reduction of 1,300 roles.

Royal Mail said the move would not affect postmen and women or the services provided to customers.

It said the proposed job losses were part of a cost-cutting programme to deliver annual savings of around £50 million a year, including £25 million in 2014/15.

The programme will result in an additional £100 million costs for the current financial year, taking the total to £230 million.

Chief executive Moya Greene said: 'We are continuously improving our efficiency, whilst maintaining our high quality of service.

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'We need to do so in order to effectively compete in the letters and parcels markets. This is the best way to ensure the continued delivery of the universal service and the good-quality jobs we provide for our people.'

The Unite union's Royal Mail officer Brian Scott raised the spectre of strike action in the event of compulsory redundancies

He said: 'First the Government sells off Royal Mail on the cheap and now the newly privatised service is ruthlessly sacrificing jobs.'

The announcement comes just three months after Royal Mail struck an agreement with union leaders on pay, pensions and other issues linked to the privatisation.