The department for work and pensions is set to make more than 800 staff redundant, union chiefs say.
A programme of office closures and the implementation of a new “corporate centre hub strategy” will see the positions axed as early as February next year.
The Public and Commercial Services union, which represents civil servants, said under new protocols its period of consultation with the department had been limited to just 45 days, and that the plans were “unwelcome and unnecessary”.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “At a time when workloads are at record highs, DWP should be recruiting new staff, not forcing loyal and experienced staff onto the dole.
“PCS will continue to campaign against these redundancies using every means at our disposal.
“This is a dreadful announcement from the DWP. The government are forcing through unprecedented cuts on the civil service. We shall intensify our campaign against office closures and job cuts.”
At-risk staff will be offered the chance to put themselves forward for voluntary redundancy in the first instance.
The department, headed by secretary of state David Gauke, will offer redundancy packages based on the terms of the 2010 civil service compensation scheme, after a new, less generous 2016 scheme was ruled unlawful following a court battle.
Theresa May has previously drawn criticism from some senior civil service officials, who warned the PM would need to “change her management style” if she is to steer her minority government successfully through Brexit.