Nearly 2,400 job losses have been announced by the administrators of delivery company City Link.
Employees, many of whom learnt of the company's collapse on Christmas Day, now face a miserable New Year after a last-ditch bid to save the company failed.
The administrators at EY announced 2,356 redundancies on New Year's Eve saying that an offer made for the company had not been acceptable.
The RMT union said the failure to secure jobs at City Link, which went into administration on Christmas Eve, was "a disgraceful and cynical betrayal".
General secretary Mick Cash said: "The City Link Christmas destruction is an act of industrial vandalism that shames our nation while the Government looked on and offered nothing but hollow words."
The Government has encouraged newly unemployed workers to go on Facebook to find job vacancies.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This is very sad news for the City Link workers and their families at a particularly difficult time of year. The Government has put arrangements in place to help employees who are made redundant and we stand ready to help.
"City Link employees and self-employed drivers who have their contracts terminated as a result of City Link's administration will be able to access the Government's rapid response service, which draws together local partners such as Jobcentre Plus and the skills bodies to deliver support for each person affected.
"In addition, a Facebook page has been set-up to link-up companies holding suitable vacancies with those who have been made redundant, so if drivers can be redeployed into new jobs in this competitive buoyant market they will be."
Earlier today Mr Cash disclosed details of a possible rescue, saying they had been "made aware of what we believe to be a credible bid to take over some or all of the City Link trading operation".
But the administrators said this afternoon that an offer they had received "offered no money up front and significantly undervalued the assets to be acquired."
They said: "The Administrators proposed an alternative structure that would be acceptable and common in these situations.
"The consortium, despite attempts to make them reconsider, declined to amend their original offer."
Coventry, where City Link has its head office, faces the highest number of redundancies, with 350 jobs lost. There have also been more than a hundred job losses in Hatfield, Heathrow and Warrington.
The other job losses are spread across the UK. City Link has 52 depots around the country.
Hunter Kelly, joint administrator of City Link Limited, said: "It is with regret that we have to announce substantial redundancies at City Link Limited, which ceased accepting new parcels on 24 December 2014.
"The Company endured substantial losses, which ultimately became too great for it to continue as a going concern, and City Link Limited entered administration following an unsuccessful sale process.
"At meetings across City Link Limited's UK sites on Monday 29 December 2014 and Tuesday 30 December 2014, employees were informed that there would be substantial redundancies as no new business was being taken on. Many of these employees were sent home, and informed that they would shortly receive formal correspondence to confirm their work status."
City Link employees who have lost their positions have been sent letters officially confirming their redundancy.
The administrators said staff affected by redundancy will be offered advice and support in making claims for redundancy and notice pay.
Mr Cash said: "The confirmation from the administrators that they have just sacked 2400 staff and are pulling the plug on any efforts to save City Link is a disgraceful and cynical betrayal that will wreck the lives of our members, many of whom are owed thousands of pounds.
"RMT does not believe that those pulling the strings had any interest in saving this business and were happy to cut and run leaving a trail of human misery in their wake. The City Link collapse has blown the lid off the cosy relationship between bandit capitalism and the political elite.
"RMT will continue to advise and represent our members caught in this corporate failure. Those responsible will slink away with their own resources ring fenced and leaving the taxpayer to pick up the redundancy tab."
The administrators said 371 people have been kept on to deal with remaining parcels and to assist in realising the company's assets and winding down its operations.
There are still 30,000 parcels waiting to be collected from City Link depots.
Customers who have sent parcels and intended recipients have been advised to collect their items between 8am and 8pm. Administrators expect depots to remain open until "approximately" January 6.