About 130,000 postal workers are to vote on whether to strike over what is deemed to be an unacceptable pay offer from Royal Mail (RM).
The Communication and Workers Union (CWU) formally rejected RM's offer today, which was said to be their full and final proposal.
It claims that the deal would result in 40,000 job losses, attacks on pension arrangements, a reduction in pay and closure of mail centres and delivery offices. The union also believes there would be a reduction and decrease in quality of service for the public.
In 2006 the CWU and RM agreed a joint approach to deal with the impact of competition and automation which included raising the value and status of jobs in the postal service.
But, deputy general secretary postal Dave Ward argued that "Royal Mail has abandoned our agreed approach in favour of a short sighted business plan that amounts to a cost cutting frenzy, reductions in pay and a defeatist attitude towards competition".
"This business plan is designed to fail and demonstrates a real lack of vision by the people running the company," he added.
RM claims that postal workers are being overpaid by 30 per cent and has offered a 2.5 per cent increase on basic pay and allowances or an unconsolidated one off lump sum of £600.
Notice will be served to RM of the intention to vote on strike action on May 15th. The vote will then take place on May 22nd and the result is to be announced on June 7th.
If the decision to vote goes ahead it will be the first national postal strike since 1996.