Post Office counter staff have voted by nine to one to go on strike in a row over pay, jobs and office closures.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said turnout in the ballot of its 4,000 members at the so-called Crown offices was 66 per cent, reflecting the strength of anger among staff.
The union has accused the company of not giving a pay rise to counter staff and of refusing to give guarantees about the future of the Crown offices – the larger offices usually based in High Streets.
Talks are due to be held in a bid to resolve the row, but the CWU warned that strikes could start by the end of the month if there is no progress.
CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: “Post Office workers have sent a clear message to management in this ballot that they are not prepared to take double standards when it comes to pay.
“However, this ballot is about more than pay – it is the job security of our members and the future of the Crown office network which is also at stake.
“We want to see a strong network of Crown offices, but the Government and the company appear to be hiding the fact that they are planning a programme of further Post Office closures.
“Given the lack of support from the Government – only yesterday taking a key benefits contract away from the Post Office – we fear for the future of the network.”
Andy Furey, CWU assistant secretary, said: “This massive ‘yes’ vote demonstrates the strength of anger towards the Post Office for attacking their pay, terms, conditions and job security.
“Although we have a mandate to take strike action, we continue to be responsible and our doors are open for Post Office Ltd to talk to us about a fair offer for our members.”
A Post Office spokesman said: “Ninety seven per cent of post offices are run by subpostmasters and they will be unaffected by any industrial action.
“Postal deliveries across the UK are also unaffected by this ballot result.”