Royal Mail facing more job cuts, admits minister

Further job losses are likely as part of the modernisation of Royal Mail, Business Minister Pat McFadden said today.

Both Royal Mail's management and the unions recognised that fewer people would work for the state-owned company in future, he said.



Union dissatisfaction over the Royal Mail's modernisation programme, pay and job cuts last year led to wildcat strikes followed by a series of official walkouts.



At Commons question time, Mr McFadden said: "During the dispute before Christmas we kept in touch with both sides, encouraging an agreement on modernisation of Royal Mail.



"These talks are continuing and I believe that in the context of falling mail volumes and the greater use of new technology both Royal Mail and representatives of the workforce understand that there are likely to be fewer people working for Royal Mail in the future than there are today."



Labour's John Robertson (Glasgow NW) said he was "disappointed" that Mr McFadden was not taking a more active role in talks between the Royal Mail and the unions.



Mr McFadden said the Government had put a "considerable" amount of money into the Royal Mail.



But the company's multi-billion pound pension deficit was an issue for the Royal Mail to tackle, he said.



The Government was forced to ditch legislation that would have seen the state bail out the pension deficit as part of a package involving the part-privatisation of Royal Mail.



In the face of opposition from Labour MPs and the Communication Workers Union, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson dropped the legislation, claiming that market conditions meant it was not the right time to find a buyer for a share of Royal Mail.



Mr McFadden said the Government had made clear the pension bailout was part of that package and "not something that items can be picked out one by one".



Shadow business minister Jonathan Djanogly said: "Royal Mail requires urgent structural reform if it and its employers are going to move forward.



"However the unions and Labour backbenchers have forced a weak Government to pull the Postal Services Bill.



"So what, other than Conservative government, is going to deliver any action for reform?"



Mr McFadden told him: "We did not proceed with the Postal Services Bill because the market conditions did not allow us to get the best value for money for the taxpayer."



The Tories would privatise the Royal Mail, Mr McFadden said, adding: "That is not our proposal, it wasn't our proposal in the past."



The Royal Mail last month reported an increase in its half-yearly operating profit by £7 million to £184 million despite a continuing decline in the number of letters posted.



Profits were up by 4 per cent in the six months to September, when deliveries in some parts of the country, including London, were hit by unofficial strikes.



The daily postbag averaged 72 million, down by three million from the previous year and 12 million fewer than in 2006.



About 5,000 jobs were cut in the period, bringing the total to 60,000 since 2002 through voluntary redundancy or natural turnover, leaving a workforce of 171,400.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Life and Style
Sony Computer Entertainment President and Group CEO Andrew House, executive in charge of Sony Network Entertainment, introduces PlayStation Now
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?