The UK’s cavalcade of strike action that has been taking place over the past few months continues in earnest. The UK Strike Action Calendar shows who’s on strike on any given day, and it’s often multiple groups.

Although I have limited exposure myself, I’m told that if you open Facebook or its ilk whenever you open it you mostly see a deluge of “strikers are bad and lazy and overpaid i hate them sack them all” comments. This is hurtful to those who find it necessary to take action. Trying to organise in what appears to be an environment where nobody supports you is surely disheartening and disempowering.

But as far as I can tell this condemning of strike action reflects the usual social media algorithmic insistence on promoting outrage content - nothing raises engagement stats more than an argument - more than a true reflection of public opinion. The British public in general remain more supportive than opposed to strike action, even in an environment where much mainstream media isn’t adverse to joining in with the insults and doom-mongering.

Taking the ongoing teachers' strikes as an example, my understanding is that there’s even a set of trolls that go to the bother of infiltrating private teacher Facebook groups just to spout abuse at a group of truly essential workers in a field that has a tremendous recruitment and retainment crisis but nonetheless have been subject to a substantial and ongoing real terms pay cut over the last decade, not to mention the increasingly dire working conditions that harm both school staff and students. ‘Teachers’ working conditions are students' learning conditions' to quote Mariame Kaba in her pro-abolition book, “We do this ‘til we free us”.

Anyway, the latest representative public opinion stats I could quickly find are from an Ipsos poll. from early March. In that, 48% of Britons supported teacher strike action, with 29% actively opposed.

Explicit support was even higher in the people who one might think have the most stake when it comes to the impact of the strike - but who also possibly in many cases may have more of a sense of the current state of the system than many of the rest of us: parents. 60% of parents and guardians support teacher strike action, with only 20% being opposed.

Sure, many of them are concerned about the impact of strikes on their child’s education (~40% of all parents/guardians). Given one of the points here is that plentiful and well-resourced teachers are necessary for a good education to be delivered it’s actually surprising to me that that figure is not higher. But it seems like they’re correctly taking a longer, more structural, view. They have a substantially higher level of concern present about the fact that education is suffering due to a lack of investment in schools and teachers (60%). Of course this concern of the majority is exactly what a lot of these strikes are about.

For what it’s worth the same polls showed the British public to be net in support of strikes by nurses, ambulance workers, railway workers, border fore staff, civil servants and university support. From the polled options, only strikes by driving instructors were more opposed (35%) than supported (28%).