The BMA junior doctors committee in England (JDC) is to reballot its members for another six months of industrial action. The current mandate expires at the end of February. The ballot will run from 7 February – 20 March 2024.
If returned with a “yes” vote, the mandate for strike action in England would be extended to September 2024.
For the first time junior doctors in England will also be asked to approve Action Short of a Strike (ASOS) as part of the mandate for action.
JDC co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said:
“It is disappointing to be in the position of re-balloting our members for another six months of strike action when this dispute could have been resolved over a year ago if the Government had been willing and reasonable by coming to the table to make us a credible offer on pay. In the two weeks since our last strike ended, we have been waiting for ministers to come back to the table, something the Health Secretary said she could do in “twenty minutes” if no strikes were called. But no such offer of talks has been forthcoming.
“It is clear the only way for the Government to move its position on pay restoration, and to finally start to grapple with the worsening workforce crisis, is to continue with industrial action - which has forced ministers to move their position, however slowly, towards accepting the need for a fairer pay settlement. A vote for a further six months of action would show them that there is no use in further delay. Instead of waiting out another round of strike action, the Government might instead see the urgency of simply coming to the table with a credible offer and trying to end this dispute once and for all.
“They may have been delaying in the hope that the restrictive Minimum Service Level Act would constrain our ability to take meaningful action. While this legislation remains a heavy-handed attack on the right of workers to organise, they will be disappointed if they expect it to stop us. As part of the new mandate, we have asked members to approve action that, while not being a full withdrawal of labour, will still demonstrate the value of junior doctors’ work - and how much the system has been relying on their good will. This will preserve our ability to take industrial action despite the government’s repressive new law.
"There is no way for the Government to legislate their way out of this dispute, what is needed to bring it to an end is a credible offer on pay.”
Notes to editors
Action short of strike (ASOS) encompasses any other industrial action taken in order to put pressure on the employer in a trade dispute, but which does not amount to strike action.
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.
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