A LONG-RUNNING pay dispute which sparked a series of strikes by Post Office workers has been resolved after a "milestone" three-year deal was agreed.

The Communication Workers Union said the agreement will increase pay by 7.3% for staff in Crown offices - the largest branches usually found on high streets.

The deal includes a 3.9% rise from this month and a further 3.4% paid in 1% instalments when targeted savings are made.

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CWU national officer Andy Furey said: "This is an excellent settlement that is the result of long and difficult negotiations. Post Office workers have been very patient in waiting for this well-deserved pay deal since the first industrial action was taken in March last year.

"We have no hesitation in recommending this pay deal to postal workers in an individual member ballot, which will take place shortly."

CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward added: "There's no doubt the solid action taken by postal workers across the UK has helped us achieve this very good three-year pay settlement.

"This has been one of the most protracted disputes this union has ever been involved in and we have made considerable progress to get where we now are."

The first action took place last March following an 88% vote for strikes, with stoppages continuing throughout the rest of last year.

Roger Gale, general manager of the Post Office Crown network, said: "We are pleased for our people, customers and business that we have reached an agreement which means we can continue to transform our Crown network and keep our branches on high streets and in city centres across the UK, whilst ensuring we hit our target of break even by March, 2015."