Postal workers at Royal Mail have voted overwhelmingly in favour of national strike action, which could bring major disruption over the festive season.
The strike was backed by a massive 97 per cent of members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), with 110,000 members balloted.
The strike action comes as a result of a dispute over job security, terms and conditions of employment, pay and bullying.
Dates of the strike have yet to be announced, but union workers could choose to target the festive season, bringing major disruption to the Christmas post.
An agreement reached with management last year to increase pay and reform pensions in not being honoured, according to the CWU.
Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary of the CWU, told the BBC, "Our members take honour seriously and have voted to fight for that agreement against those who now seek to break up the great British postal service in the interest of fast-track profit and greed."
Union bosses fear the company is trying to scrap rules which require it to deliver to every address in the UK six days per week for a set price. Although Royal Mail has denied any plans to drop this to a five day week, which could result in 20,000 job losses.
Strike dates have yet to be confirmed but could bring major disruption to the Christmas post (Photo: Getty Images)
'A clear message'
General Secretary of the CWU, Dave Ward, said the union is “very proud” of its members who voted overwhelmingly in favour of action, and it is hoped it sends a strong message to the Royal Mail Group.
He said, "This result sends a clear message to Royal Mail Group - our members will not stand by as you rip up their terms and conditions and destroy the service they give to the public and businesses of the UK.
"We would urge Royal Mail Group to now enter serious negotiations with this union. We also call on the public to get behind this dispute and your postal workers.
"We are very proud of our members today. They have stood by their union in record numbers and given hope to workers across the nation."
In response to the vote, Royal Mail said it was "very disappointed" about the decision to ballot for industrial action and that it is abiding by the agreement, awarding two pay rises since last year.
The company said, "We want to reach agreement. There are no grounds for industrial action."
When are the Christmas posting dates?
To ensure all of your letters and parcels arrive in time for Christmas, Royal Mail recommends posting by the following dates:
Wednesday 18 December - 2nd Class and 2nd Class Signed ForFriday 20 December - 1st Class and 1st Class Signed For and Royal Mail Tracked 48Saturday 21 December - Royal Mail Tracked 24Monday 23 December - Special Delivery Guaranteed