Unions have reacted with fury as Royal Mail says it will seek to make 6,000 redundancies by next year.

The postal service was privatised in 2011 and posted net profits of over £600m in 2021.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) announced on Thursday that its members would take part in 19 days of strikes in the run-up to Christmas, as they seek better pay and conditions.

They accuse Royal Mail of planning structural changes which would turn long-term employees into a "casualised, financially precarious workforce overnight", as well as cutting sick pay and providing poorer terms for new workers.

On Friday the company announced a plan to cut 10,000 jobs, of which 60 per cent would be via redundancies and the rest through natural attrition such as not replacing staff who leave.

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Chief executive Simon Thompson said: "Each strike day weakens our financial situation.

"The CWU's decision to choose damaging strike action over resolution regrettably increases the risk of further headcount reductions."

That drew a furious response from the union, who called the announcement and intimidation tactic.

General secretary Dave Ward said: "The announcement is the result of gross mismanagement and a failed business agenda of ending daily deliveries, a wholesale levelling-down of the terms, pay and conditions of postal workers, and turning Royal Mail into a gig economy style courier.

"What the company should be doing is abandoning its asset-stripping strategy and building the future based on utilising the competitive edge it already has in its deliveries to 32 million addresses across the country.

"The CWU is calling for an urgent meeting with the Board and will put forward an alternative business plan at that meeting.

"This announcement is holding postal workers to ransom for taking legal industrial action against a business approach that is not in the interests of workers, customers or the future of Royal Mail. This is no way to build a company."