Junior doctors strikes suspended as improved offer to be put to BMA members

An update on junior doctor pay negotiations from Scottish junior doctor committee chair Chris Smith

Location: Scotland
Published: Friday 7 July 2023
chris smith

Following an intensive series of negotiations the Scottish Government has put forward a new pay offer for Junior Doctors to BMA Scotland. Today this offer was reviewed by your Scottish Junior Doctors Committee (SJDC) in an emergency meeting. 

As a result SJDC has suspended strike action. This means the planned 72 hour walkout from 12-15th July will not go ahead. 

This new offer represents an improvement on the previous offer and some compromise on both sides, but after much consideration SJDC believes it includes vital concessions and guarantees from the Scottish Government that give us a genuinely credible and workable pathway towards pay restoration. 

At this stage, our negotiation team feels we have reached the limit of what can be achieved this year and does not think strike action would result in a realistically improved offer. Equally, it could potentially endanger the commitment that the Scottish Government has offered to work with us to achieve pay restoration as an alternative to a sustained and escalated industrial dispute. It is our view that acceptance of this offer is the best way of achieving full pay restoration for doctors in Scotland. 

SJDC is therefore recommending that the following offer is accepted by the membership. 

The offer has three parts:

  • This year, 2023/24, a pay rise of 12.4% for Junior Doctors which would be implemented from 1 April 2023.
  • For the following three financial years - 2024/25, 2025/26 and 2026/27 - a guaranteed minimum uplift of inflation every year. Beyond inflation proofing our salary for these three years the Government has also committed to negotiating with us each year to agree further annual pay rises above inflation that must “make credible progress on the path towards pay restoration”. This commits the Government to working with us over these three years to make substantial moves towards reversing the pay erosion we have faced. We will enter this in good faith however note that the contingency remains open to us to again go to a ballot of members for strike action should this pledge not be fulfilled at any point.
  • We will also open contract negotiations with the Scottish Government from Autumn 2023 with the aim of improving the working and training conditions of Junior Doctors in Scotland, realistically aiming to implement this by April 2026. As part of these negotiations we will agree a new Pay Review mechanism, the aim of which is to reach a “mutually agreeable path to achieve pay restoration and prevent erosion recurring in the future”. This mechanism once established should complete the process of restoring our pay as well as ensuring our pay is protected against any recurrence of pay erosion in the long term.

Read more about the details of the pay offer.

More information, guidance and FAQs will follow shortly. We will provide extensive opportunities for you to hear from and talk, in person and online, with your elected reps and the negotiation team about the offer.

The final decision will rest with you when this offer is put to a consultative ballot, and the timeline for this will be announced as soon as possible.

We want to thank every single one of our junior doctor members for your outstanding commitment, unity and motivation. In particular we want to recognise everyone who stepped up as an activist, picket supervisor or gave their time and for all of your continuing effort towards the campaign in any way, we would not be here without you. 

BMA Scotland is changing as a result of this massive grassroots movement and we are already seeing great results from this. It is absolutely clear that this change has brought the Scottish Government to this position and no matter what, it must not end here. By sticking together, voting together and working together we will complete this journey to restore our pay and our profession.

Read about our pay restoration campaign for junior doctors in Scotland