Junior doctors in England have told the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, that a credible offer – showing he is serious about pay restoration and willing to negotiate in a timely manner to resolve 15 years of pay erosion - could stop the forthcoming strike action.
In reply to a letter from Mr Barclay, the co-chairs of the Junior Doctors committee express their frustration at the Minister’s refusal to meet with them, the fact it has taken him almost a week to reply to them and that he appears to have laid down yet another pre-condition to the negotiations. This includes misrepresenting their opening position as a precondition to talks when they have set no preconditions, and asking them to give up their negotiating position and to call off strike action, for which the committee had an overwhelming mandate from nearly 50,000 junior doctors in England.
Committee co-chairs, Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson said:
“Today we are making a serious and substantial offer to Steve Barclay, which means it is within his gift to see next week’s strike action suspended. If he puts a credible offer on the table that shows he is serious about addressing doctors losing more than 26% of their pay in real terms and which we believe can form the basis of negotiation, we will suspend next week’s action. This is the best way he can show he is serious about rapidly settling this dispute – something which he claimed in his letter to us, was his aim.
“We very much expect that an offer will be a starting point in the discussions, rather than the final deal we agree, but until the Minister’s office makes that offer and agrees to meet with us, we cannot consider stopping the strike action and starting negotiations. There will be many details we can work out round the negotiating table but first of all we need to get into the room, with a credible offer on the table and that is where and when progress can be made. The ball is now very much in the Secretary of State’s court. Is he willing to table a serious offer we can consider? Or does he want to sit in his office and continue to claim we have set preconditions which we have not.
“Four days of strike action begins next Tuesday but we remain committed to working with the Government to find a solution that recognises the scale of pay erosion for Junior doctors in England and delivers a route towards full pay restoration. It is entirely within the Health Secretary’s gift to avert the upcoming strikes.”
Notes to editors
- The BMA defines ‘credible offer’ as one which Junior Doctor committee members accept shows the Government is serious about beginning to address the real terms pay erosion over the past 15 years. This would be the basis of meaningful negotiations and would lead us to suspend strike action.
- For up to date details of picket line locations, please go to strikemap.org
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.