Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Half of people back strikes by NHS workers – poll

Speculation has grown that healthcare staff could strike over pay (Peter Byrne/PA)
Speculation has grown that healthcare staff could strike over pay (Peter Byrne/PA)

Half of Britons would support NHS staff going on strike if they chose to do so, a new poll has found.

Speculation that NHS workers could strike over pay has mounted in recent weeks after ministers suggested any rise should be limited to three per cent.

If they chose to walk out, they would join railway workers and criminal barristers who have already gone out on strike over pay and conditions.

Other public-sector workers including teachers, refuse collectors and postal workers are reportedly considering industrial action against the background of rising inflation and resistance to significant pay increases by the Government.

A poll of about 1,000 people carried out by Ipsos between June 22 and 23 found 50% of British adults would support an NHS strike while only 30% would oppose.

Criminal barristers strike action
Criminal Bar Association chair Jo Sidhu speaks outside the Old Bailey as criminal barristers take part in the first of several days of court walkouts (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

This represented by far the highest level of support for possible strikes, with 41% backing industrial action by teachers and 35% opposed.

Carol Popplestone, chair of council at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The public understands how important pay and working conditions are to a healthy NHS.

“The fact half of the public would support industrial action within it is proof of that. They know health and social care are on their knees.

“We await the Government’s announcement of this year’s NHS pay award, which may be imminent, but know that anything less than a pay rise significantly above inflation will not be enough.

“We will ask our members if they feel the award is adequate and what further action they might wish to take.”

Barristers had by far the lowest levels of support, with only 23% supporting strike action and 46% opposing it.

Some 41% opposed strike action by civil servants, with 29% in favour, while 38% opposed strikes by airport staff, with 31% in favour.

The poll also found that, after two days of strikes on the railways, support for industrial action by the RMT remained largely unchanged.

Some 35% had supported the strikes at the beginning of the week and the same proportion was in favour by June 23. The proportion of those opposed to the strike action had increased very slightly from 35% to 36%.

Keiran Pedley, director of politics at Ipsos, said: “Following on from last week’s rail strikes, the potential for further strike action from different professions looms.

“This data shows public sympathy varies depending on the types of workers striking. NHS workers are most well supported, followed by teachers, but others less so, suggesting that not all strike action will be viewed equally in the court of public opinion.”