Czech Sphinx will cut up to 1,000 Royal Mail jobs if £3.5bn takeover goes ahead, union bosses warn

Union bosses have warned the ‘Czech Sphinx’ could press ahead with plans to cut up to 1,000 posties if he succeeds in his bid to buy Royal Mail.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is set to hold talks with the billionaire businessman Daniel Kretinsky in early June if a deal goes ahead.

Kretinsky has until 5pm on Wednesday to make a firm offer for Royal Mail owner International Distribution Services (IDS) or walk away.

It comes after the IDS board said it would back his £3.5billion offer, which sparked an immediate backlash from campaigners, unions and politicians.

CWU director general for post Martin Walsh told the Mail: ‘We are sceptical of Royal Mail and we are sceptical of Kretinsky’s firm. We will be looking for commitments on jobs.’

Deadline: Daniel Kretinsky (pictured) has until 5pm on Wednesday to make a firm offer for Royal Mail owner IDS

It comes as Kretinsky, the billionaire co-owner of West Ham United football club, has backed Royal Mail’s reform proposals, which would lead to ‘fewer than 1,000’ voluntary redundancies.

These plans include cutting second-class post to three days a week, paving the way for redundancies to save around £300million a year.

Kretinsky has said he would protect workers’ rights and keep the Royal Mail brand, as well as its UK base and tax residence.

But he has been tight-lipped on job losses and second-class post – suggesting cuts remain on the agenda. 

Royal Mail wants to scrap second-class deliveries on Saturdays and cut them to every other weekday to save money.

Under those plans, there would be up to 9,000 fewer daily routes within two years – resulting in hundreds of job losses.

The proposals would require reform of the Universal Service Obligation, which means Royal Mail has to offer a six-day-a-week service for a fixed price.

IDS has urged the government and regulators to make changes, saying the obligation costs Royal Mail up to £675million a year.

Last week Royal Mail revealed it lost nearly £1million a day last year as Ofcom started a probe into missed postal targets.