New strike dates announced after Government declines offer to cancel strike
The tenth round of junior doctor strike action in England will take place from 7am on Saturday 24 February to the end of Wednesday 28 February. This will be a full walkout.
Progress was being made in talks but the Government failed to meet the deadline of 8 February to present a credible offer. In order to allow more time for negotiations to continue, we extended an offer to the Health Secretary to cancel this round of strikes before it was announced publicly if she agreed to extend the mandate for strike action for four weeks. Unfortunately she declined to do so leaving us no choice but to announce this final strike of our mandate.
Junior doctors should not attend any duties starting after 6.59am on Saturday 24 February, and continue to strike all duties that start and end on strike days up to the end of Wednesday 28 February, including duties that end at midnight. However, duties that start on Wednesday 28 February and end after 00.00 on Thursday 29 February should be completed in full. Where junior doctors are rostered to work a shift during the daytime on Wednesday 28 February, followed by a non-resident on-call duty overnight, these should be treated as separate duties.
Re-ballot of junior doctors in England now open
The re-ballot of junior doctors is now open until 20 March.
The re-ballot is to extend our mandate for industrial action, and provide us with a mandate for action short of strike (ASOS), an additional form of industrial action to effectively sustain pressure.
We need members to vote YES for strike action and YES for ASOS so we have all options on the table.
Only members can vote in the ballot so join the BMA now so you can have your say.
BMA strike fund - donate now
A strike fund is available to subsidise members in serious financial difficulty who otherwise couldn’t afford to take part in any future rounds of strike action.
The strike fund is supported through voluntary donations to make available to doctors in need.
Why junior doctors are taking industrial action
While workload and waiting lists are at record highs, junior doctors’ pay has been cut by more than a quarter since 2008.
A crippling cost-of-living crisis, burnout and well below inflation pay rises risk driving hard working doctors out of their profession at a time when we need them more than ever. If junior doctors are forced out of the NHS because of poor pay and conditions, the services we all rely on to look after our loved ones will suffer.
Junior doctors explain why they are taking industrial action
During the December 2023 strikes, junior doctors on the picket lines explain why they are taking industrial action.
Download a range of campaign materials to share on social media and in your communal work and rest areas.
Download our factsheet about the campaign
Real life stories
Enough is enough
The Doctor has spoken to a range of junior doctors about why they are considering industrial action.
In a series of interviews, Ben Ireland and Tim Tonkin speak to:
- Foundation year 1 Daniel Zahedi
- Foundation year 2 Vanya Gurr
- Foundation year 2 Alistair Ludley
- Foundation year 2 Vassili Crispi
- Registrar Ellen Newberry
- ST2 Priyesh Parekh
- ST3 GP registrar Ayesha Shafaq:
- ST4 registrar Kerrie Thackray
- Core surgical trainee Roshan Rupra
How we got here
Our calculations show that pay awards for junior doctors in England have delivered a real terms (RPI) pay cut.
Junior doctors in England are guaranteed a 2% pay rise in 2022/23, as part of the multi-year pay deal agreed in 2019. This contract also brought an additional £90 million investment and many significant improvements on the 2016 contract.
From our perspective, the deal provided a guarantee of annual uplifts that were higher than those seen since 2008, in the context of an uncertain time due to the potential impacts of an impending Brexit. 82% of junior doctor members who voted in the referendum on the new contract, agreed to accept them.
However, the contract was agreed before the pandemic started and when inflation was below 2%. Our new calculations show that pay awards for junior doctors in England from 2008/09 to 2021/22 have delivered a real terms (RPI) pay cut of 26.1%, even accounting for total investment secured through the multi-year pay deal agreed in 2019.
The DDRB themselves state that not applying pay award would have a significant impact on retention and more.
Doctors in training in England were once again excluded from the pay award process because their contract is still subject to a multiple-year pay deal, awarding them 2% for 2022/23.
This is in spite of the Framework Agreement for the 2018 contract negotiations, which established the current pay deal, explicitly stating that the DDRB is able to make further pay recommendations or observations on behalf of junior doctors in England where requested (8.1). They once again decided that because this group was not included in the UK Government's remit letter, they are unable to make formal recommendations on their behalf, allowing the UK Government to disregard them altogether.
While the 4.5% uplift would in any case be unsatisfactory, amounting to a likely 6% pay cut in the face of spiralling inflation, to exclude junior doctors in England from the award given to other NHS workers is nothing less than a betrayal of the profession.
As the DDRB themselves note, a decision not to apply an award to groups subject to a pay deal will have 'a significant effect on motivation, affecting retention, productivity, and ultimately patient care'. They actively state that the headline increase of 2%, set as part of the current deal, is 'likely not sufficient' to address those issues.
The junior doctors committee has escalated our campaign on pay.
Since early 2022, the JDC (junior doctors committee) has escalated our campaign on pay to challenge the government to make a fair pay award for NHS junior doctors this year, that addresses the long term pay erosion our members have faced.
JDC also made the decision to withdraw from the DDRB process this year for junior doctors in England in response to concerns over the body's effectiveness and independence from Government.
Watch our webinars
This webinar aimed at international doctors, explains the visa constraints when taking industrial action.
The following two webinars for BMA members, are aimed at activists to explain how we got here and how you can help build a movement.
BMA members - sign in to watch the webinars