Fresh strikes by postal workers in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions would threaten their job security, Royal Mail has warned.
The company is in the midst of a crucial few days amid reports it faces the threat of administration if it does not reach a deal with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Neither side would comment on the possibility of administration, which would be a dramatic development putting a huge question mark over the future ownership of the company and its obligation to deliver letters to every address in the country.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “After 11 months of talks, making numerous improvements to our offer based on CWU feedback, and mediated talks by Acas and Sir Brendan Barber, we are deeply concerned that we have yet to reach an agreement.
“We remain committed to getting the right deal, which secures the future of Royal Mail and its workforce.
“We have been clear throughout the dispute that significant transformation of our network and working practices is essential for the business to survive.
“It is not sustainable for the business to be losing more than £1 million a day. Change cannot continue to be delayed.
“If CWU persists with further strike action, this would only serve to threaten the job security of our postmen and women and make our pay offer unaffordable.”
A series of strikes were held last year by Royal Mail workers, including in the run up to Christmas.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said Royal Mail’s finances are down to the way the company has dealt with the dispute.
He accused the company of setting targets which were not achievable and “demoralised” workers.
Mr Ward said Royal Mail seems to have “completely given up” on the Universal Service Obligation (USO), under which it has to deliver mail to every address in the country.
He said the company is proposing a three-year pay deal which he said is “not good enough.”