LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Mail is facing its first national strike in 11 years after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said talks over pay and job cuts had broken down. "Consequently CWU Postal Executive are meeting today at 2 p.m. to assess the situation and decide on whether to proceed forward with an announcement on strike dates which is very likely," the union said in a statement. The CWU said earlier in June its members had voted in favour of industrial action due to Royal Mail's "below inflation pay offer" and its plans to reduce the workforce by around 40,000, or about 27 percent, by automating mail-sorting processes. Royal Mail said it had to modernise to prevent the business from failing and that the only way it could improve pay, protect pensions and deliver customer service was by modernising. Royal Mail is fighting private competition from Business Post, Dutch mail company TNT NV and others after losing its 350-year monopoly on postal services last year. The group, which said earlier this week it had lost an 8 million pounds ($16 million) contract with online retailer Amazon.com, lost key business when the government began paying benefits such as state pensions directly to claimants' bank accounts rather than through post offices. The growth of email, text messages and the purchase of tax discs and television licences over the Internet have also dented profits. A spokesman said Royal Mail remained willing to talk and continue to explain its position.