The RSPCA has proposed making up to 300 people redundant amid concerns that it will record losses of up to £25m this year.
The animal welfare charity, which employs more than 1,600 people, said it had been reviewing all of its activities as part of a new 10-year strategy, but the need for change had been accelerated because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The RSPCA, which made a deficit of more than £17m in 2018, said its free reserves had fallen to less than six months’ operating funds, further increasing the need for urgent reform.
It said it faced losses of £47m over the next three years if action was not taken.
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said the proposed job losses would be across the organisation, but the charity was not in a position to expand on the details until staff were told more next week.
Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA, said the charity was facing one of the biggest challenges in its history.
“We know this is a really difficult time for our staff and the proposals we are putting forward have not been made lightly,” he said.
“This is an incredibly challenging time for charities. The current crisis has exacerbated an already difficult financial situation.
“The current way we operate our services is simply not financially sustainable and we must adapt our model to bring our spending in line with our income. If we don’t, we will threaten our ability to rescue animals that need us in the future.
“Coronavirus has accelerated the need for change, but we have been working for many months to review our operations in line with our new, 10-year strategy, which will refocus our activities where we can be the most effective in helping animals.”
The trade union Unite said the redundancy proposals were excessive and would be challenged.
Terry Abbott, regional officer at Unite, said: “While the coronavirus and the subsequent economic disruption is undoubtedly putting financial pressure on many charities, these proposals are excessive and will be challenged by Unite.
“Before any course of action is decided upon, the RSPCA must enter into a full consultation with Unite.
“Any potential restructuring must be done in a way that keeps redundancies to an absolute minimum and ensures the charity’s operational capacity.”
A formal consultation period on the redundancies is due to start on Monday and will last for 45 days.