Exclusive Poll: 84% Back Striking Nurses' Bid for Bigger Pay Rise
Plus a first listen to an exclusive new Byline Podcast on the moral peril of Spotify
An overwhelming majority of the public believe that Rishi Sunak’s Government should hand striking nurses a much bigger pay rise, according to an exclusive new Byline Supplement poll, conducted by pollsters Omnisis.
The Government is currently only offering nurses an additional £1,400 this year, which would amount to a significant real-terms cut to their salaries.
However, Omnisis found that 84% of all voters believe ministers should instead raise nurses’ pay at least in line with inflation, with almost a third agreeing that it should rise above that level.
Voters also back a bigger pay rise for teachers and rail workers, according to our poll.
76% said they believed teachers’ pay should rise at least in line with inflation, with 72% saying the same for rail workers.
Even more worryingly for the Government, our poll found that only a small minority of voters say they most trust ministers to tell the truth about the issue.
According to Omnisis, 65% of all voters say they most trust nurses to tell the truth about the strikes, compared to just 12% who most trust the Government.
The public are similarly sceptical about Government claims on train strikes, with just 16% saying they most trust ministers to tell the truth about them, compared to 57% who most trust rail workers instead.
Even among Conservative voters, there appears to be little trust for the Government on the issue. Our poll found that just 19% of Tory voters say they most trust ministers to tell the truth about the nurses’ strikes, compared to 61% who most trust nurses themselves.
Nursing Unions welcomed the findings.
The Royal College of Nursing’s General Secretary Pat Cullen told the Byline Supplement: “After our first day of strike action, public support for a pay rise for nursing has been immense – and this polling confirms the huge support from people all over the country.
“Nurses are doing this for their patients as much as themselves. Yesterday they stood outside on cold picket lines to protest the poor pay that is pushing people out of the profession, contributing to unsafe staffing levels, and making patient care dangerously unsafe.
“They will take to picket lines again on Tuesday amidst huge public support – all the while ministers are finding themselves under fresh pressure from unexpected places including their own MPs, NHS leaders and a former chair of the Pay Review Body.
“The public know when we speak, we speak for patients.”
Just 2% Back Newspapers as Most Trusted on Strikes
Our poll also suggests there is little public trust in how the media is covering the current wave of strikes. Just 2% of all voters say they most trust newspapers to tell the truth about the nurses’ strikes with only 3% saying they most trust them to tell the truth about train strikes.
Broadcasters appear to be more trusted, with 9% saying they most trust outlets like the BBC and ITV to tell the truth about the nurses’ strikes and 12% saying the same about the train strikes.
Earlier this week nursing unions offered to call off this week’s strikes if the Government agreed to sit down and discuss their demands on pay.
Sunak ruled that out, with Downing Street suggesting that they will instead look at bringing in new legislation designed to make it harder for public sector workers to go on strike.
However, our poll suggests that Sunak’s Government and its supporters in the press are losing this battle to win over hearts and minds on the issue.
It also suggests that the hardline approach currently being taken by Sunak’s government is unlikely to hold.
This is the latest in a series of exclusive weekly polls for the Byline Supplement, asking the big questions other news outlets won’t. In order to support our work, please take out a full subscription below at 25% off the normal price, for a limited time.
Do We Have a Moral Duty to Tune Out of Spotify?
The Spotify music streaming service is regarded as indispensable source of exposure by many musicians - but it’s also been accused of being tightfisted when it comes to paying out royalties
Last year it paid out more than $7 billion US in royalties – around £5.7 billion – with more than 1,000 artists earning in excess of $1million each.
Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Until, perhaps, you realise that more than half that amount - $4 billion - went to major record labels. If you’re a less well-known artist, it’s a different story, with reports that 786 streams would just about earns enough to buy a cup of coffee.
There have also been complaints that Spotify’s podcasts allow for the spread of misinformation. Neil Young withdrew his new music from the platform earlier this year after a Joe Rogan episode that questioned the safety of Covid vaccines.
In this latest episode of the Byline Times Podcast - available first to Byline Supplement subscribers - Adrian Goldberg hears from Rob Pursey who runs the independent Skepwax record label; and Mark Christopher Lee who tries to ‘game’ Spotify’s algorithms with his band Pocket Gods by releasing tracks of just over 30 seconds duration.
Thank you for reading this free edition of the Byline Supplement. Our work is entirely supported by our subscribers. If you are able to, please take out a full subscription, at 25% off the normal price for a limited time. Every subscription helps us break bigger stories, support fearless independent journalism, and hold the powerful to account.