Government surveyors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in protest over last year’s pay award in a move which could affect survey and valuation work across the country.

Around 85% of the surveyors and senior managers working in the Valuation Office Agency said the pay award amounted to a substantial real-term cut in pay.

Union Prospect, which represents the 900 members based in VOA’s 85 offices across England, Scotland and Wales, said the result reflected the anger among members ‘at an offer which is below inflation, over seven months late and leaves members’ pay lagging behind civil service colleagues and way below market rates for surveyors’.

The action will begin next Wednesday but will fall short of a strike and will take the form of non-cooperation, with a ban on overtime, staff only working conditioned hours, banning all out-of-hours coverage and encouraging staff to take proper lunch-breaks and regular screen breaks. There will also two ‘specific protest days’ where work their core hours of 10am to 1pm.

It follows an earlier ballot held in December where members rejected a pay deal with a general increase of 1.25% which it said was ‘well below even the Treasury’s stringent 2% cap’.

Prospect National Secretary Geraldine O’Connell said: ‘Our members at VOA work to ensure that property tax systems across the country are implemented in a fair and impartial manner but the treatment they have received is far from fair. The chief executive has outlined his vision to turn the agency into a World-Class service by 2010 but he is expecting staff to do this on third-class pay.’