Thousands of civil servants have voted in favour of a national strike at the end of the month over pension reform, two unions said on Monday, bringing the prospect of a national stoppage involving millions of workers a step closer.
The FDA union, representing 19,000 senior government workers, including diplomats, prosecutors, economists and tax professionals, said that on a turnout of 54 percent, 81 percent had voted in favour of a walkout.
Jonathan Baume, FDA general secretary, said it had been a decisive vote for industrial action and that its members were likely to take part in the Trades Union Congress day of action on November 30.
Prospect, which represents 30,000 civil servants in more than 120 government departments, said its members had also voted by an overwhelming majority of three to one in favour of action.
Prospect said that if its executive endorsed the action, it would be the first time since 1981 its members had joined a national walkout.
Relations between the government and unions suffered another blow this week after a cabinet minister involved in negotiations over the pension issue suggested public sector unions stage a 15-minute stoppage instead of a full-blown strike.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said that the government was willing to accommodate some kind of token action, which the TUC dismissed as a public relations ploy.
Hundreds of thousands of workers, including teachers, council and health workers and civil servants have been voting in recent weeks on whether to down tools over in protest against public sector pension reforms the government says are vital.
More than 20 unions are preparing to take part in the stoppage, billed as the biggest in decades, that could bring out 2 million workers.
Two big unions, Unite and the GMB, will announce the results of their ballots on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; editing by Michael Holden)