Royal Mail managing director Mark Higson told the BBC's Today programme that he was asking the CWU to call off the national ballot, while he and his colleagues continued to negotiate with union bosses.
He has called the ballot "wholly irresponsible", and that the Royal Mail would continue work to minimise the impact of industrial action on deliveries.
"The changes that we are making are essential to respond to a changing market... and we want the CWU to recognise what it signed up to in the previous agreement," said Mr Higson.
At the core of the dispute is the Royal Mail's plans to trim its 121,000 frontline postal workers as part of the modernisation it says is needed to secure its future against a backdrop of falling mail levels.
It is a rather emotional dispute, there is an adversarial relationship, a complete lack of trust, both the union and management must share responsibility for that
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