Hundreds of jobs are in danger of being lost as DHL Freight UK gets set to close its business after of a decade of losses.

In a letter to staff seen by union GMB, DHL admitted that the part of the business had not been in a “profit making position since 2006”.

It continued: “This has been due to a number of factors such as increased competition which has led to customer churn and not being able to fill our network with profitable business.

"This has led to a significant decline, particularly in the last three years. To address this a country wide strategic review of the DHL Freight UK operations has taken place and it has been identified that we need to make fundamental changes to our UK operation.”

The letter added that the company had started collective consultation with all its Freight UK employees over potential redundancy and TUPE.

The proposed move could lead to 600 jobs being cut and the closure of depots including Aberdeen, Newcastle, Wakefield and Bristol.

Cardiff and Hemel Hempstead have already closed in the last few months.

Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said it was “a kick in the teeth to the loyal, hard-working and highly trained workforce across the DHL Freight UK network”, especially coming days before Christmas.

“The constant false hopes, tinkering and change in direction of the business has contributed to the lack of customer confidence, which in turn has led to a loss of business.  I am sure most staff will not thank the company for the worst Christmas present ever,” he said.

“It appears that the UK management team has given up on this business and its employees.”

A DHL spokesperson said: “Following a strategic review of its UK operations, DHL Freight UK has identified some business proposals and has now entered into a period of consultation with its affected workforce. The proposals would involve restructuring the UK business which currently employs approximately 600 staff across 16 UK sites.

"We aim to meet our customer’s needs both today and in the future. We will do our utmost to mitigate any impact on our existing customers should these proposals or alternative solutions be implemented following consultation.”

It stressed that all other business units including DHL Supply Chain, DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Express will not be “negatively affected”.

By David Craik