STAFF at Royal Mail delivery offices across Oxfordshire were out on strike this morning in support of an official national one-day stoppage.

The mail sorting office at Cowley was unaffected but there will be no deliveries until tomorrow.

Today's official strike follows recent unofficial "wildcat" stoppages regarding staff discipline issues.

At the centre of the national industrial action is a dispute over a pay increase, and fears regarding privatisation.

Royal Mail managers say they need to modernise in order to survive, but staff say proposals will lead to increasing automation and ultimately 40,000 job losses.

Staff were on the picket line this morning at the delivery office in Becket Street and at the delivery office in Sandy Lane West, East Oxford.

Roger Collins, a spokesman for the Communication Workers' Union at the Becket Street office, said 110 staff were on strike. Mail deliveries are expected to resume tomorrow.

He added: "We want to keep the service as it is but the management wants to make cuts before automation.

"Royal Mail talk about universal service obligation, the promise to deliver to every single address, but if 40,000 jobs are lost there is no way we will be able to do that.

"We sympathise with the public because their mail is being delayed but we are asking them to put pressure on Royal Mail management to maintain the service.

"At present there is no negotiation with management - they say they will meet us only to explain their position."

Oxford City Council could become the only local authority in the country to vote on whether to back the strike, at a special meeting on Monday.