Subpostmasters have criticised the pay cut inflicted by Post Office Ltd, which they say is threatening their futures.

According to the National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP), base pay will fall by £10m in 2010/11 and, coupled with rises in inflation, will mean that subpostmasters’ income levels in real terms will drop by more than £20m.

In a letter to Post Office chairman Donald Brydon, NFSP general secretary George Thomson called for pay to be increased in line with the 2% rise received by postal workers and said that many subpostmasters felt abandoned by the Post Office.

He cited the £62m profit made by Post Office in the last financial year and the £10m bonuses paid to senior managers and other staff. Thomson added that a pay increase was essential for branches to stay open and continue to provide a service.

Derek Gillpin of Arlecdon Post Office in Frizington, Cumbria, received a letter about the slashed pay. “It told us that in order to win other contracts, there would have to be a tightening of belts,” he said. “Unfortunately, there’s little that can be done about it; we can’t close the post office as people depend on it.”

Julie Bohannon who runs a post office in Handcross, West Sussex, agreed that pay should be increased to match increases for postal workers.

A Post Office spokeswoman said: “Overall, subpostmasters’ pay has increased every year for the past five and in the financial year just ended the average rise was 5% at a time when pay for all direct employees across Royal Mail Group was frozen. Under arrangements for this year we expect many subpostmasters to see their remuneration increase further despite tough conditions faced by the company.”