RAIL freight firm DB Schenker has blamed falling demand for coal for its proposal to cut 234 jobs.
The majority of the jobs set to be lost from the firm, which has its UK headquarters in Doncaster, are expected to be lost in the North of England.
In a statement confirming it was consulting on job losses, the company said it was focusing on long-term growth areas such as automotive and construction.
Geoff Spencer, chief executive of, DB Schenker Rail UK, said: “Responsible businesses take decisions to positively position themselves for the future.
“We must transform and reshape our organisation to ensure our long-term success by evolving to meet the needs of a rapidly changing market.
“I know this is an unsettling time for colleagues who may be affected and we are committed to keeping them fully informed and supported throughout this process.”
The company said it would seek to protect jobs wherever possible, including offering some workers an opportunity to transfer to other locations.
Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: “This shock announcement makes a nonsense of the Government’s recent claims that they are looking at expanding rail freight to meet green emissions targets.
“RMT has made it absolutely clear that we will not accept any compulsory redundancies and we will be looking to use existing agreements to ensure that our members’ livelihoods are protected.
“The union is aware that this announcement may be the tip of the iceberg in the rail freight industry and the union will fight to defend these green jobs and to hold the Government to their pledges on rail freight as a logical green option.”