Postal workers fear 700 jobs could be lost in Bradford after Royal Mail unveiled its first plans to transfer work to Leeds.

Royal Mail bosses say they expect 25 workers to take voluntary redundancy from its Forster Court sorting office in Forster Square due to the transfer, but insist there will be no compulsory redundancies.

Workers, however, say they fear the worst and it could spell the beginning of the end for the centre.

And a spokesman for the Communications Workers’ Union confirmed it was in negotiations with Royal Mail about any changes to the Bradford site.

He said: “We will be representing the best interests of our members in Bradford.”

One postal worker, who did not want to be named, said the workforce feared the entire centre could be closed within 18 months.

He said: “We will definitely have redundancies at Bradford Mail Centre and probably in about 18 months you could be looking at it closing. It would mean devastation for a lot of people.

“They have got families or mortgages and in this present climate, trying to get a job anywhere, what chance have you got?

“I don’t know where the 700 people would go. They could end up all over the place.

“We definitely know the early shift is going but as far as anymore, we don’t know.”

Another Bradford worker, who also did not want to be named, said: “Eventually it will be moving to Leeds.

“From this building I reckon the jobs are going to go eventually.”

The news comes as it was revealed Royal Mail is to hold a two-day national summit with union leaders next month to discuss modernising the business in a move expected to lead to job cuts across the country.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “There are about 700 staff at Bradford Mail Centre including 90 processing staff on the early shift.

“The changes which we are planning at Bradford will include utilising the technology available at Leeds Mail Centre, such as the large letter sorting machine, which is in line with our national agreement with the CWU.

“This does not mean the transfer of all work from the early shift to Leeds.

“We have no plans for compulsory redundancies but we expect to employ about 25 fewer people through voluntary redundancy as a result of these changes and we are discussing this with our people and the CWU.”

e-mail: james.rush