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20 June 2022

Where does public opinion stand on the rail strikes?

Younger people are far more likely than older people to support striking train workers.

By Katharine Swindells

Last-minute negotiations between rail company bosses and trade union leaders continue today before a planned strike, which is set to be the biggest in 30 years.

The RMT union says 50,000 railway workers will strike on 21, 23 and 25 June over stagnating pay and cuts to benefits and pensions. The strike is expected to cause major disruption across the UK, including for those travelling to Glastonbury Festival at the weekend.

Polling earlier in June by YouGov found that British people are divided in their opinion of the strike. Half of respondents said they opposed rail workers striking over pay and conditions, while a third said they supported it.

There was a big difference across age groups. Half (49 per cent) of respondents aged 18-24 said they supported strikes. Among older age groups, who tend to use trains far less frequently, there was significantly less support. Of those aged 50-64, a third (32 per cent) said they strongly opposed rail workers going on strike, and among those over 65 it was 42 per cent.


Across England, Scotland and Wales, those in the north of England were most likely to be supportive and those in London were most hostile, with 53 per cent saying they opposed strikes.

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Politically, Labour voters were far more supportive: 59 per cent said they supported or strongly supported rail workers going on strike, while just 14 per cent of Conservative voters felt the same.

[See also: Blaming Labour for the rail strikes could backfire on the government]

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