Junior doctors secure strike extension in pay negotiations with the Welsh Government

by BMA Cymru Wales media team

Press release from BMA Cymru Wales.

Location: Wales
Published: Thursday 2 May 2024
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BMA Cymru Wales has confirmed a positive development in its pay negotiations announcing that Junior doctors have secured a three-month extension to their overwhelming strike mandate.

This means that junior doctors in Wales now have the right to enact industrial action over their pay until 17 September 2024 instead of 17 June when it was due to run out.

Recognising the strength of feeling amongst junior doctors and the overwhelming 98% vote by members in favour of industrial action back in December 2023, employers have agreed to honour this extension to allow talks with the Welsh Government to continue.

Co-chairs of the Welsh Junior Doctor Committee Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr Peter Fahey said of this development:

“We are pleased to be able to secure an extension to our overwhelming strike mandate. Whilst we hope to put an end to our pay dispute through pay negotiations by reaching a credible deal and restoring our pay, it was important to secure more time for our mandate.

“The extension allows us to focus on talks but also provides us with the scope to get organised and enact our legal right to strike should we need to. This is about honouring the emphatic mandate of our members.

“Doctors have experienced real terms pay cut of almost a third since 2008. They voted overwhelmingly to put an end to the devaluing of their service, they know they are not worth a third less than their predecessors and they know the time is now to stick up for the profession and turn the tide of the continued erosion of their pay once and for all”.

The Welsh Government and NHS employers have agreed to the extension as part of ongoing pay negotiations where all parties hope to reach an end to the pay dispute with junior doctors, SAS doctors and Consultants in Wales.

Last month, BMA Cymru Wales announced it was suspending forthcoming industrial action for Consultants and SAS doctors and putting plans on hold to announce more strike dates for junior doctors to allow pay negotiations to take place*.

The decision to enter pay negotiations was based on a significant proposal from the Welsh Government to form the basis of talks to end the pay disputes with all secondary care doctors including Consultants, SAS, and Junior doctors, with the aim of reaching deals which can be taken separately to their respective members.

In August last year, the BMA’s committees representing secondary care doctors in Wales voted to enter separate trade disputes with the Welsh Government after being offered another below inflation pay uplift of just 5% for the 23/24 financial year. SAS doctors on some contracts were offered as little as 1.5%. This was the lowest pay offer any government in the UK offered and less than the DDRB, the pay review body for doctors and dentists, recommended last year.

As part of their disputes, SAS doctors, consultants and junior doctors carried out successful ballots for industrial action. Since then, junior doctors have taken part in 10 days of industrial action since January this year.

Notes to editors

1. * Doctors to enter pay negotiations with the Welsh Government

2. Contract negotiations between Welsh Government, NHS Wales and BMA Cymru Wales’s GP Committee (GPC Wales) are due to commence in the coming weeks. The 23/24 GMS contract negotiation concluded without a negotiated agreement 

3. 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.