Half (48%) of UK adults support industrial action for railway workers in a dispute over pay and conditions, according to a new survey from Savanta ComRes.
The poll, which asked whether the public would support or oppose different occupations striking in a dispute over disputes over pay and conditions, with an example whereby a workforce or union does not believe that the pay rise offered is satisfactory, just a third (31%) opposed.
In these circumstances the public were most likely to support nurses (61%) taking industrial action, followed by bus drives (53%), refuse collectors, teachers and postal workers (51% each).
The poll comes amid a new wave of industrial action, with railway workers striking today (18 August) and Saturday, strikes on the London underground tomorrow, and Royal Mail workers voting for further strikes over terms and conditions.
Generally, three in five (59%) of adults say that they are supportive of workers striking, rising to 70% of those aged 18-34 and 73% of those working in the public sector.
The poll also finds that half (50%) of UK adults say striking has a positive impact on the chance of getting better pay, although 45% say that it has a negative impact on how the public feel about their industry.
And UK adults are split on whether taking industrial action impacts how the government will treat an industry in future; one in three (32%) say it will have a negative impact, while slightly fewer (29%) say it will have a positive impact or no impact (28%) at all.
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes said, “This so-called Summer of Strikes is far from over, and providing unions can get the message across to the public that the pay deals they’ve been offered are not satisfactory, public support is likely to remain high.
Contrarily, though, the public do believe that continued industrial action will have a negative impact on sympathy levels for the sectors balloting for strike action, and therefore there could still be a tipping point where the public have simply had enough and support begins to fade away.”