Schools, hospitals, courts and transport were hit by the biggest strike in decades today as up to two million public sector workers staged a walkout.
Teachers, nurses and civil servants joined weather forecasters, botanists and nuclear physicists on picket lines.
Unions reported huge support for the 24-hour walkout in the bitter row over pensions, but warnings of massive delays at Heathrow airport failed to materialise, with passengers saying border controls were "better than usual".
Union officials accused the Government of "ramping up" possible airport disruption and claimed that "under-trained" staff had been drafted in to cover striking immigration and passport workers.
"Some of those on duty today don't have proper security clearance. They are not qualified to do the job properly, which is a concern. We will take this up after the strike ends," said an official from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union.
The PCS said reports from picket lines showed a "huge" turnout for the strike, with up to 90% of staff in some Government departments, including Revenue and Customs, taking action.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: "I have been to pickets around central London and spirits are sky-high, with many other unions besides PCS out on strike.
"People should be very proud of the stand they are making today, in contrast to the shame of the Government. Public sector workers have come together today to show their united opposition to the Government's prolonged and concerted attacks on their pensions, jobs and communities."