The Post Office has announced a major reorganisation to take place over the next five years. The plan, unveiled in Bern on Thursday, will see the closure of up to 900 post offices and the loss of around 500 jobs.
The organisation's chief executive, Ulrich Gygi, said the job cuts would be made in a socially responsible way. He said he hoped the losses would be achieved through natural wastage and that redundancies could be avoided.
The number of post offices will fall from 3390 today to between 2500 and 2700 in the year 2005.
Sites in major cities will be the first to close. The Post Office says a concentration of resources in major urban centres is inevitable. Gygi said maintaining infrequently visited offices would be a luxury.
He said the measures were necessary to ensure the organisation had a healthy financial future.
The Post Office hopes the programme will achieve savings of around SFr100 million ($61 million) a year.
The communications minister, Moritz Leuenberger, welcomed the announcement and said the restructuring was vital.
Unions gave the plan a mixed response.
The Communication Union said the worst had been avoided and said it had obtained management assurances that redundancies would be avoided.
But the Confederation of Christian Unions was less optimistic. It said the extent of the cuts could not be justified by the expected savings and it added that rural areas would be badly affected.
swissinfo with agencies