Public support for the rail strikes crippling Britain is waning again this week, with almost half of Britons now opposing it after eight months of disruption.

RMT union baron Mick Lynch has announced the walkout could continue beyond May and insists he and his colleagues have ‘massive’ public support.

But a YouGov poll last night showed otherwise, with 43 per cent of the public supporting the strike by rail workers, while 49 per cent now oppose it.

Last year there were more in favor than against and, by comparison, 66 per cent of Britons support nurses going on strike over pay and conditions in the NHS.

Yesterday Mr Lynch spoke to a thin-looking picket line among Euston rail bosses, claiming their members had gone back to work after months of industrial action. He told Sky News workers there was a “massive amount of support online, in-person, from people on the lines of our strike”.

Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) general secretary Mick Lynch on the picket line outside London Euston train station today

Empty tracks and platforms at Marylebone station this morning as RMT union members take part in strike action

Empty tracks and platforms at Marylebone station this morning as RMT union members take part in strike action

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Train traffic comes to a standstill in London early morning on the second day of the new year

Millions of people are being forced to stay at home again today, leaving towns and cities deserted as rail workers continue their 48-hour strike affecting return to work and school.

On another horrific day of disruption, almost half of Britain’s railway lines are closed and only a fifth of services are running as tens of thousands of workers at Network Rail and train operators walk out for a second day.

Tomorrow has been nicknamed ‘Sad Thursday’ as train drivers from 15 rail companies represented by the Asleaf union are on strike, with less than 10 per cent of all services expected to run.

And then there will be another 48-hour RMT union walkout on Friday, forcing much of the country to work from home for the rest of the week.

Meanwhile DVSA driving examiners strike begins in London, the South East, South Wales and the South West, while traffic officer service workers on national highways continue their walkout.

Industrial action by UK-wide National Highways and Rural Payments Agency staff will continue.

And London bus workers in Abellio will also launch a two-day strike – the first in a series of planned actions by the group throughout January.

It came as the new general secretary of the TUC called an urgent meeting with the prime minister to try to break the country-wide deadlocked industrial disputes.

Paul Novak has called for a change in government direction, saying ministers should start wage negotiations with unions.

In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Mr Novak said public services were in crisis after years of ‘low funding and staff shortages’.

He wrote, ‘We cannot solve these problems without a fair deal for the people working on the frontline.

‘Every month veteran workers are leaving, with one in three public service workers now taking or actively considering steps to leave their professions.

‘It’s simply not sustainable.

‘But we can’t fix the staffing crisis in our schools, hospitals and elsewhere if we don’t fix the underlying causes.

‘That means talking openly and constructively about reforming public sector pay. But till now your ministers have refused to hold direct talks with the unions regarding the salary.

21,000 Aslef workers will walk out in a mass strike tomorrow on what has been dubbed 'Sad Thursday' - less than ten per cent of train services running

21,000 Aslef workers will walk out in a mass strike tomorrow on what has been dubbed ‘Sad Thursday’ – less than ten per cent of train services running

Around 75 per cent trains were canceled due to the strike on a day when most people return to work after the holiday season

Around 75 per cent trains were canceled due to the strike on a day when most people return to work after the holiday season

A view of a billboard announcing the strike and showing available travel times, as rail workers continue to strike over pay, jobs, safety and working conditions in London.

A view of a billboard announcing the strike and showing available travel times, as rail workers continue to strike over pay, jobs, safety and working conditions in London.

Mr Novak said unions had worked closely with Mr Sunak during the pandemic to protect millions of jobs, adding:

‘That’s the kind of mature approach we need right now.

“The unions have already made clear their willingness to sit with the government and talk about a wage hike. But as long as your ministers flatly refuse to discuss wage revision, there can be no solution.

‘In the NHS, for example, appropriate structures are already in place to allow the immediate start of wage negotiations involving health unions, employers and ministers. That’s exactly what happened in 2018, which led to a three-year wage settlement.

‘We want to find a solution to the current disputes so that our public service workers can continue to do the job they love. And so our public services can begin to improve for all who depend on them.’

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