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John Walton
January 16, 2023

Majority of UK public still support striking healthcare workers

A poll carried out by the Observer has found that a majority of voters are still supportive of striking nurses and ambulance workers, despite claims by the government that the strikes are putting lives at risk.

The poll puts support for the striking nurses at +26% which has fallen by 4 points since December. Around 57% of voters support the nurses as they strike for more pay, as opposed to 31% who are against the action. Of all the groups of workers who have been involved in recent strikes, the nurses have the highest level of support.

Ambulance workers come second, with 52% of voters backing their strike action and 35% against it.

This contrasts with the opinion of the railway workers' strike where a smaller amount of people back the action (38%) than oppose it (46%). Teachers are currently being balloted on strike action but the public opinion is more evenly split on this.

The public were also asked if they thought the government or the unions had handled the strike issue better, 34% said they approved of the way the Royal College of Nursing has handled it and only 14% approved of the government's performance.

The polls also show that support for Labour has edged up one point to 45% whereas the Conservative party remains on 29%. Rishi Sunak's approval as prime minister has dropped from -7 to -14.

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