Senior civil servants have voted by 4-1 in favour of industrial action over the Government's controversial pension reforms, increasing the prospect of a strike by millions of workers at the end of the month, it has been announced.
The FDA union said that in a 54% turnout of members, 81% were in favour of industrial action and it was likely they will now be called on to strike as part of the TUC's day of action on November 30.
The union, which represents 18,000 senior civil and public servants, including tax inspectors, special advisers, government lawyers, crown prosecutors and diplomats, said the Government needed to reflect why such senior staff felt driven to vote to strike.
Prospect, which represents 30,000 civil servants in more than 120 government departments, said its members had also voted by an "overwhelming majority" of 3-1 in favour of strike action.
Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the FDA, said: "This is a decisive vote for industrial action, but this ballot should not have been necessary. No one has worked harder than the FDA to seek a negotiated settlement, often in the face of Government delay and procrastination."
Mr Baume said improvements to the Government's reform proposals announced earlier this month by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander were welcome, but only "limited progress" was being made because the Treasury had yet to provide clarity about what the proposals mean in detail.
"We are committed to securing pension arrangements that are both fair to our members and that continue to be sustainable. The FDA has only once before held a national strike ballot, and our members regard industrial action as the very last resort. So the Government needs to reflect upon why senior public servants feel driven to vote to strike.
"Many FDA members face a pay cut of up to 6% over the next three years because of the pensions levy. In the context of a pay freeze and high inflation, this is a cut in living standards of up to one fifth. There is also considerable anger that the Government's change - without consultation or negotiation - of the index for uprating pensions from RPI to CPI means a reduction of at least 15% in their real value before any further changes are implemented.
"The FDA executive committee will meet tomorrow, but my expectation is that we will be calling upon our members to join with millions of other public sector workers in the TUC day of action on November 30. We will nonetheless continue to negotiate in good faith."
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy said later that its members in England, Scotland and Wales had voted by 86% in favour of industrial action on a 66% turnout. It will only be the second national industrial action the CSP has taken in its 117-year history, and its first since 1980.