But it claims that much still depends on the April annual earnings figure due to be published on Thursday. If, as expected, this figure is only marginally higher than the government's 1.5% pay ceiling, council employers are likely to tell the Home Secretary that the difference is not worth the cost and danger of a national strike, the newspaper suggests.
The Observer quotes John Watts, chairman of the Treasury Select committee, warning that the government will not move on its demands for pay restraint in the public sector. It goes on to report that Ken Cameron, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, was pleased with the three to one vote in favour of a ballot on a series of one-day stoppages.
And, Mr Cameron also accused employers of frightening many firefighters by threatening them with the sack if they voted in favour of a ballot, the Observer adds.