Current RJDC members offer some of their reasons why they joined their local committee:
- Best practice and solution sharing across the region
- Working to improve things for your colleagues and in turn, your patients
- Influencing national JDC policy
- Leadership experience
- Networking and working with like-minded individuals
"This is your union, our union"
The feeling of representing your members, and resolving an issue for your junior doctor workforce is incredible.
The 'victory' that stands out most for me is when we were able to assess a wrongly banded rota for some local foundation doctor 2s. As a result we secured them a back pay of £4,600 each. You can’t beat that feeling of working for a union, securing justice and improving working conditions for your members.
To anyone who is thinking of running for BMA regional junior doctors committee, my advice is: do it. Take the time to talk to your RJDC to get an idea of the big issues it is tackling and the time commitment involved. Also try to get experience first by sitting on your local negotiating committee; this will be invaluable when as RJDC chair you will be working with and supporting several LNCs at once.
And if you feel that running for RJDC may not be for you, then definitely vote in the elections. This is your union, our union, and it can only fully represent and work for us all if we all get involved and make it the union we want. And that starts on the ground, in our local branches.
Gurshuran Johan, JDC executive member
"RJDC is an inclusive and friendly committee"
Just like every other junior doctor, I've had my share of work-related frustrations. I've worked LTFT (less than full time) since qualifying and used to feel I was the only junior doctor ever to have done this. From getting my hours rostered appropriately to being paid the correct amount, it felt like a battle every time I moved jobs.
A friend suggested I come along to the regional BMA junior doctors committee meeting and bring up any issues there. Having never been part of any committee I really had no idea what to expect, and worried I wouldn’t feel confident to speak about the things that were bothering me or even understand the process of a committee meeting. I was amazed that all of the little (and big) things that had been bothering me could actually be resolved and that I could access all of this support and guidance that I never knew about. I've continued going to RJDC meetings regularly.
Within my RJDC I've now been elected to the role of LTFT representative, which means I can take any LTFT difficulties to a national forum – where there is a wealth of experience and guidance to draw from. But one of the best things is that it's also a platform to push for equality for LTFT trainees within the production of important new documents such as the next Gold Guide.
RJDC is an inclusive and friendly committee, literally there for you. If you have faced a workplace problem I can guarantee someone else has faced the same. By meeting and resolving these problems, junior doctors can feel surer of their contractual rights, help implement best practice in their own trusts and get involved in management and leadership roles. I finally feel like all my frustrations can be fixed and the solutions shared with other junior doctors facing similar issues.
I'm not going to sit back and moan about things – I'm going to RJDC to change them and so can you. See you at the next meeting.
Christina Baker, LTFT trainees' forum member