By Daniel Hunter
Post Office staff are set to walk out later today (Friday) in a dispute over shop closures, jobs and pay.
Six Post Offices are set to close, whilst, in a bid to cut losses the firm also plans to move a number of high street branches into local retailers.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says hundreds of jobs will be affected. The Post Office said it had to address losses. Some 97% of the network would operate as normal, it added.
Crown offices are branches directly managed by the company - as opposed to locally-run by sub-post offices - mainly based in high streets.
The CWU said the offices handled about a fifth of Post Office business and 40% of financial services sales.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said the plans amounted to "a Post Office closure programme in a desperate attempt to slash costs to meet government funding cuts by 2015".
He said the Post Office could "talk about transformation and sustainability all it likes".
"But the reality is that these are euphemisms for closing offices, drastically altering the make-up of the Post Office network and handing the running of services over to corporations which are built around other income streams and could walk away from Post Office services."
He added: "These are services and, as taxpayers, we value them and want our taxes to bring us services we value.
"It's not a simple profit and loss calculation."
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