Post office counter staff vote to strike
Thousands of post office counter staff have voted to go on strike, in a dispute over pay and job security.
The 4,000 post office workers, members of the Communication Workers Union, are angry that they have not had a pay rise for nearly two years.
The workers are also opposed to planned changes to the UK's network of 373 Crown - or main - post offices.
The Post Office said it was "disappointed" by the outcome of the strike vote.
The CWU said that of those who took part in the ballot, 88% voted for strike action, in a 75% turnout.
Dave Ward, of the CWU. said: "Our Post Office members have spoken loud and clear in this ballot. They are fed up with being treated like second-class workers by the Post Office and they want their concerns to be listened to.
"There hasn't been so much as the pretence of negotiations from the Post Office and that must change if strike action is to be avoided," he added.
However, the Post Office said that because not everyone voted in the ballot, only 60% of all employees had voted to strike.
"The result shows that a significant proportion of our staff do not wish to take strike action and would like to work with us in delivering our plans to bring the business into profit," said Kevin Gilliland of the Post Office.Cash payments
Last month, the Post Office announced plans to close up to 70 Crown offices, and replace them with franchises based in other shops.
At the time, it promised that the overall size of the network would not be affected.
Crown post offices, usually based in main High Streets, are currently losing £40m a year.
The Post Office said that it was offering cash payments of up to £3,400 for each staff member, linked to the transformation of the Crown network.
"These payments are fair at a time when our Crown network is operating at a loss. Our door remains wide open to discussions with the CWU as to how we get the first of these payments into pay packets as quickly as possible," said Mr Gilliland.
The Post Office said contingency plans were in place to ensure any disruption to the public was kept to a minimum, should strikes go ahead at the main post offices.
But the CWU made no announcements about possible strike dates.
By law, the unions have to give seven days' notice of when the action will take place.