The BMA’s junior doctors committee (JDC) has announced further strike dates in England, from the 24th February to 28th February, after the Government failed to meet the deadline to put an improved pay offer on the table. In a show of goodwill, the BMA provided the Health Secretary with an option to delay further strike action. She was asked to extend the current strike mandate for a short period - and thus allow talks to continue with the aim to achieve a resolution for this year’s dispute. Disappointingly, she declined to agree to extending the mandate.
However, the junior doctors committee believes the forthcoming strikes can still be called off if a credible offer is made.
BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said:
“We have made every effort to work with the Government in finding a fair solution to this dispute whilst trying to avoid strike action. Even yesterday we were willing to delay further strike action in exchange for a short extension of our current strike mandate. Had the Health Secretary agreed to this, an act of good faith on both sides, talks could have gone ahead without more strikes. Sadly, the Government declined.
“The glacial speed of progress with the Government is frustrating and incomprehensible. The Health Secretary was quite clear in media interviews during our last action that she would meet us ‘in twenty minutes’ when no strikes were planned. She also made clear that she had a further offer to make. It turned out to be more than twenty days before we were offered a meeting with a minister. When we did it wasn’t with the Health Secretary, and there was no offer on the table. Time has been lost that could have been used to negotiate with us, or at least with the Treasury and the Prime Minister for the mandate to make a credible offer.
“From the very start of the industrial action, we have been clear that there is no need for strike action as long as substantial progress is made, and we remain willing to carry on talking and to cancel the forthcoming strikes if significant progress is made and a credible offer is put forward.
“The Government’s actions are difficult to understand, especially when their own MPs are telling the Chancellor to pay junior doctors more fairly. Whatever the holdup, from whomever it is coming, it needs to end now. This will be the last action of our current mandate, but we are already balloting for six months more. Even now we are willing to put off these strikes to find a solution – it’s in the Health Secretary’s hands.
Notes to editors
- The strike dates in England are from 7am, 24th February to 11:59pm, 28th February.
- Junior doctors in England are currently balloting members for a mandate for further 6 months of strike action from the springtime.
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.