On Friday evening junior doctors voted to approve new dates of strike action, establishing 20 September as the first joint strikes by junior doctors and consultants in NHS history unless agreements are reached before then.
Junior doctors retain support by half of the public (53%), while 3 in 10 oppose (31%). By contrast, the share of Britons who oppose strike action for strike action by consultants (44%) is higher than that which support (38%), with levels in line with those seen railway workers, who are due to strike this upcoming weekend (36% support, 43% oppose).
In line with previous months, the workers who continue to have the highest support are nurses (63% support, 24% oppose) and ambulance workers (60% support, 26% oppose).
Just under half of the public think employers hold too much power in Britain today (45%). A further 3 in 10 (31%) think they hold the right amount, with 13% thinking they hold too little. By contrast, more than half of Britons (57%) think workers hold too little power, compared to just 9% who think they hold too much. Even so, the public is divided as to whether trade unions hold too much power (32%), too little power (28%), or the right amount of power (26%).
The majority of the public continue to feel that the UK government led by Rishi Sunak is doing a bad job negotiating with trade unions to prevent public sector workers going on strike (57%), a 6ppt increase compared to June 2023. By contrast, only 17% think he’s doing a good job. Confidence in any improvement under a Labour government led by Keir Starmer, however, remains middling, with 3 in 10 (31%) expecting he would do a better job, and an equal share (34%) thinking there would be no change. 1 in 5 (21%) think he would do a worse job.
Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research, Ipsos UK said, “Britain continues to face strike action as we enter the Autumn, and there is continuity in public attitudes towards them too.
The strikes by railway workers and consultant doctors divide opinion, with opposition tending to outweigh support, but there is more sympathy for other striking NHS workers such as junior doctors. There is much less sympathy for the government, who most Britons – and over 4 in 10 of their own 2019 voters – think is doing a bad job at handling the negotiations to put an end to these public sector strikes.