New strike dates announced for junior doctors in Northern Ireland

by BMA NI media team

Press release from BMA Northern Ireland.

Location: Northern Ireland
Published: Thursday 2 May 2024
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Junior doctors in Northern Ireland will stage further strike action after pay talks with the Department of Health broke down.

Two 48-hour full walk outs will take place from 7am on Wednesday 22 May to 7am on Friday 24 May, and from 7am on Thursday 06 June to 7am on Saturday 08 June.

Speaking about the decision, Northern Ireland junior doctor committee (NIJDC) chair, Dr Fiona Griffin, said: “After our 24-hour walk out on 06 March we were invited by the health minister to meet with his officials about our pay asks. We agreed to this in good faith and were hopeful for productive and meaningful discussions.

“Despite some progress on non-pay issues, regrettably there has been no progress at all on our key asks around pay including a commitment to work towards full pay restoration. This has left us with no choice but to escalate our strike action.

“We are very disappointed that we have not been able to make any progress, but we must act on behalf of our members who voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking strike action for full pay restoration.

“Doctors can see their colleagues elsewhere in the UK and in other jurisdictions getting better pay and conditions for less pressurised workloads. This, along with years of below inflation or non-existent pay uplifts, the latest of which for the 2023/24 financial year has still yet to be paid, further adds to the reality that the key role junior doctors have in the health service is simply not valued.”

Speaking about health minister’s concerns that health staff pay uplifts may now be in jeopardy due to budget constraints, Dr Griffin said: “The levels of discontent among doctors about pay is now so palpable that our consultant colleagues plan to ballot members for industrial action, and a recent indicative ballot of SAS* members returned a yes vote for the same course of action. The health service cannot function without doctors and they are leaving in growing numbers due to decreasing morale from poor pay and high workloads.

“We have been left with no choice but to take action. If our government wants the health service to survive and retain doctors, then it must act now and prioritise staff pay. Nothing less than a commitment to full pay restoration to 2008 levels will only address this.”

Notes to editors

*Specialist, staff grade, associate specialist and specialty doctors.

For more information on the junior doctors pay campaign and how their pay has eroded since 2008, click here.

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