Industrial action deadline looms

by Ben Ireland

Junior doctors will be faced with no choice if pay issues are not addressed 

Location: England
Published: Wednesday 14 September 2022
junior doctor protest

Junior doctors in England are being urged to prepare for industrial action if the Government does not commit to full restoration of pay to 2008/09 levels by the end of September.

The BMA is calling on junior doctor members to write to their MPs, update their details, encourage colleagues to join and share the campaign on social media using hashtag #BMABallotReady.

Full restoration of junior doctor pay has been demanded by the BMA junior doctors committee after a real-terms cut to salaries of more than a quarter since 2008/09 while colleagues face a record backlog and spiralling cost-of-living crisis.

The BMA has continually highlighted to Government that junior doctors are demoralised, significantly burnt out, and feel undervalued. New prime minister Liz Truss says she has made the NHS one of her top priorities.


No choice

HALLETT: Junior doctors undervalued

Inaction from Government will leave junior doctors with no choice but to press ahead with preparations for industrial action, the BMA says. It is to ballot junior doctor members if demands are not met by the end of September.

In the meantime, members have been urged to send template letters to their MPs asking them to lobby new health secretary Thérèse Coffey to restore junior doctor pay.

The BMA has also stressed the importance for junior doctor members to update their contact and rotation details, which is crucial as any legal industrial ballot must be conducted via post.

A trade union ballot requires a turnout of 50% of those eligible to vote to be considered to have support for industrial action.

All BMA junior doctor members employed by NHS organisations will be eligible to vote. Non-BMA members cannot vote. Membership remains free for junior doctors until 1 October.


Unacceptable award

mike kemp KEMP: Morale at rock bottom

The JDC is also looking for activists to become junior doctor pay campaigners and is encouraging junior doctors to put themselves forward for upcoming regional elections.

As many as 83% of more than 13,000 junior doctors who completed a recent BMA survey said this year’s 2% pay award is ‘completely unacceptable’ while 72% said they would be prepared to take industrial action if the Government does not commit to full pay restoration.

Sarah Hallett and Mike Kemp, BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs, said: ‘Junior doctors have had enough of being overworked, underpaid and undervalued, and will not tolerate these cuts any longer.

‘The Government’s failure to include junior doctors in the wider – though still derisory – pay uplift for NHS workers or make any comment on pay restoration has only strengthened our resolve.

‘Morale is at rock bottom and without rapid action from Government to restore our pay, we are deeply worried for the future of the profession.’