Skip to main content

Home  »  UK Business NewsUK Employment news   »   Thousands of UK junior doctors to start voting Monday on strike action

Thousands of UK junior doctors to start voting Monday on strike action

Junior doctors on strike

Thousands of UK junior doctors have started voting on whether to strike over wages as industrial action continues across a range of sectors.

Around 45,000 British Medical Association (BMA) members in England are being balloted and the results are expected at the end of February.

Junior doctors, or any doctor below the level of consultant, will start a 72-hour "complete walkout" in March if they meet the 50 percent "yes" threshold.

READ MORE: UNION FURY AS RISHI SUNAK UNVEILS ANTI-STRIKE LAWS THAT COULD SEE WORKERS FIRED

If the strike goes ahead, the doctors won't be able to provide emergency NHS care, which means trusts will need to set up emergency coverage to protect patients, according to the BMA.

The union has requested the government to meet with physicians to discuss a solution to prevent strikes, which would be the second time junior doctors have ever taken action.

employer

Walkout also happened when current Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was health secretary.

The union claimed that it had not received an invitation to the meeting of health union leaders and Health Secretary Steve Barclay scheduled for Monday.

READ MORE: ROYAL MAIL STRIKES HURT BUSINESS MORE THAN RAIL WALKOUTS OVER CHRISTMAS, NEW DATA SUGGESTS

Junior doctors are demanding higher compensation after being denied an NHS pay increase this year.

The rise was denied because their contract is governed by a multi-year pay agreement that was reached in 2019.

This expires in March and grants them a two percent pay increase for 2022–2023.

According to the BMA, junior doctors in England have witnessed real-term wage decreases over the last 15 years, totaling a 26.1 percent pay decrease since 2008/9.

And the organisation claims that it has no choice but to put junior doctors up for a vote for strike action since the poor pay puts patients in danger.

READ MORE: HOWARD BROWN HEALTH STAFF TO GO ON STRIKE OVER PLANNED LAYOFFS

In order to prevent industrial action, the BMA has urged Mr. Barclay to meet with doctors and engage in negotiations.

Both Rishi Sunak and Mr. Barclay have stated that they are available to speak with unions.

But the BMA says Mr. Barclay is "the first health secretary for over 50 years to continue to ignore all invitations" to meet with doctors.

READ MORE: MORE UK TRAIN STRIKES WILL HIT WORKERS RETURNING TO WORK AFTER CHRISTMAS

Dr. Vivek Trivedi and Dr. Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA junior doctors committee, said: "When we are faced with such resolute ongoing silence, and there is no agreed settlement on the table, then we are left with no choice but to act.

"Junior doctors are not worth a quarter less than they were 15 years ago nor do they deserve to be valued so little by their own government.

"Pay erosion, exhaustion and despair are forcing junior doctors out of the NHS, pushing waiting lists even higher as patients suffer needlessly.

READ MORE: BOXING DAY FOOTFALL BOUNCES BACK POST-COVID DESPITE THE COST OF LIVING CRISIS AND TRAIN STRIKES

"The government's refusal to address 15 years of pay erosion has given junior doctors no choice but to ballot for industrial action.

"If the government won't fight for our health service, then we will."

In other areas of the NHS, ambulance staff are set to strike again this week and later this month, as well as more nurses' strikes next week.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "The health and social care secretary has been clear that supporting and retaining the NHS workforce is one of his key priorities, and that includes our hardworking junior doctors.

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

"Our multi-year pay deal with the British Medical Association is increasing junior doctors' pay by a cumulative 8.2 percent by March 2023.

"We have also invested an additional £90m to provide the most experienced junior doctors with higher pay, increased allowances for those working the most frequently at weekends and increased rates of pay for night shifts.

"There are record numbers of staff working in the NHS and we are committed to publishing a comprehensive workforce strategy next year."

Image: BMA

Source: Sky News

Follow us on YouTube, TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.