The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has warned that strike action at Royal Mail and Parcelforce is possible from 10 October if union members vote in favour of it later this month.

The union said a ballot for strike action will be held from 20 September if talks with the post and parcel operator are unsuccessful.

It expects that the result of the ballot of 125,000 Royal Mail and Parcelforce staff will be announced on 3 October and if the majority vote in favour, the union will be able to give seven days notice of a strike.

The CWU said it believes a strike is “inevitable unless the company meet the needs of the workforce regardless of ownership”.

CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward added that plans to sell off mail centres and distribution hubs are among the “real threats in a race to the bottom with mail competitors for any new company”.

Royal Mail said in a statement: “A ballot for strike action does not mean there will be a strike; currently it is business as usual for Royal Mail. Any industrial action, or the possibility of disruption, is damaging to our customers and our business, especially in the run up to our busiest time, Christmas.”

Royal Mail has proposed an 8.6% base pay rise over three years, with all current terms and conditions in place if it were sold.