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Royal Mail warns of jobs chop under plans to scrap second-class deliveries on Saturdays

ROYAL MAIL has warned that up to 1,000 jobs could be axed under plans to scrap second-class letter deliveries on Saturdays.

In its submission to a consultation on the future of the universal postal service (USO) by industry regulator Ofcom, the privatised company also proposes to cut the service to every other weekday.

Royal Mail said its proposals would reduce all non-first-class letter deliveries — including second-class and bulk business mail—– to save the business up to £300 million a year.

However, it would retain a six-day-a-week service for first-class mail, in a climbdown from previous calls for all Saturday letter deliveries to be axed.

The proposals would lead to daily delivery routes being cut by between 7,000 to 9,000 within two years and “fewer than 1,000” voluntary redundancies, the company said.

Royal Mail insisted that it did not expect to make any compulsory redundancies and hoped that its 130,000 workforce could be reduced through natural staff turnover.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) “strongly criticised” both Royal Mail’s "destructive business agenda" and Ofcom’s “poor regulatory regime” in its own submission to the consultation today.

General secretary Dave Ward said: “The options in the report have been developed in the interests of creating a short-term financial gain for Royal Mail.

“In order to maintain a sustainable and comprehensive USO fit for the future, the CWU believes that changes to the USO cannot be considered in isolation. 

“The wider challenges facing Royal Mail, including the crisis in resourcing and failures on quality of service, must be addressed in step with genuine reform.”

Liberal Democrat business spokeswoman Sarah Olney branded the plans a “slap in the face for families being asked to pay more for less.”

She added: “It risks creating a cost-of-postage crisis, as people feel forced to pay for first-class stamps because second-class delivery days are being slashed.”

Royal Mail said: “The proposal is designed to create a more financially stable future for the business and its shareholders, protecting tens of thousands of jobs and the best terms and conditions in the industry.

“It closely aligns to changes successfully made in comparable countries — in Europe and around the world — over recent years, with limited changes for customers.”

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