Portsmouth Post Office workers join national strike.

The countryside surrounding Harting Down in the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

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Workers from a Portsmouth Post Office have joined thousands of workers in a national 24-hour strike in a dispute over branch closures, job losses and pensions.

Cosham’s Post Office, in High Street, was closed today, with a notice on the door telling customers that the building was shut due to industrial action.

Customers were given details of alternative branches in the area that they could use.

Unite officer for the Post Office Brian Scott said: ‘Unite’s members voted strongly for industrial action in protest at the Post Office decision to close the defined salary pension scheme.

‘The pension issue needs to be seen against the backdrop of continuing redundancies and the latest franchising of 20 Crown post offices which are a result of the failure of top management to have a viable and sustainable business plan to secure services for the public and jobs for the workforce in the future.

‘We are also very concerned that the government is supporting the closure of the pension scheme, while refusing to provide the necessary funding for the Post Office going forward.

‘Ultimately, the British public will suffer as they see the services offered by a much-loved institution being eroded by neglect from the top.”

Kevin Gilliland, Post Office’s Network and Sales Director, said: ‘We can reassure customers that most Post Office branches will be open for business as usual.

‘The Post Office is a national institution that is successfully adapting to change and we are safeguarding the future of the network.

‘More than 99 per cent of people in the UK live within three miles of a Post Office branch and we are committed to secure that level of service for the future.

‘In just over three years we have modernised over 6000 branches, adding more than 200,000 extra opening hours each week and becoming the largest UK retail network open on Sundays.

‘We have also halved our losses and we are making steady progress to reduce costs to the taxpayer.’