Junior doctors in England begin new strike as Sunak fails to make pay commitment

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Thursday 27 June 2024
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Junior doctors today embarked on their eleventh round of strikes in England, after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak failed to avert further action by committing to restoring their pay.

On Thursday 20th June Sunak was offered yet another chance to put in writing details of a commitment to restoring pay, which would have been enough to mean strikes did not need go ahead. The Prime Minister has failed to do so.

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said:  

“It is immensely disappointing that the Prime Minister has once again failed to deliver for his constituents and NHS patients.

“The PM has cynically blamed his own failure to get waiting lists down on striking doctors, all the while dragging out talks in the full knowledge that it was going to cause yet more strike action. By first calling an election and then refusing any attempt to engage he has shown he clearly had no intention of sorting this dispute out in good time.

“We have been as reasonable as we can: we gave him a final chance to put forward an offer. When he did not we gave him plenty of time to correct his mistake and gave him a clear way of doing so. He could have put in writing a commitment to pay restoration should he form the next Government. At a time when he is making plenty of commitments in a general election, this only meant making one more.

“No doctor wants to strike – not this time nor the ten rounds of action before it. We have been forced to this position by more than a decade of savage pay cuts, and nothing would make us happier than returning to work this week with a commitment to pay restoration.

“Once again though, the Prime Minister has failed to take the opportunity in front of him. His own ministers now admit that the failure to negotiate with us has been a terrible mistake, acknowledging that the only way to solve this dispute was by getting round the table and discussing pay with us. Now, at the very last, we ask the Prime Minister to consider whether they might have a point.”

Notes to editors

The letter to the PM offering a final chance to solve the dispute is here.

Strike dates in England are 0700, 27 June to 0700, 2 July.  

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.