Yesterday an emergency meeting of the UK JDC (junior doctors committee) took place to consider next steps, following last month’s deeply insulting pay announcement which saw a further real-terms cut in pay for junior doctors in England.
We have been calling for full restoration of junior doctor pay, given the sustained and continued real-terms cut of more than a quarter to our salaries since 2008/09. The Government’s decision to again exclude junior doctors from the higher (though still paltry) pay uplift for other NHS workers, was yet another crushing blow to junior doctors’ morale.
We have continuously highlighted that junior doctors are demoralised, significantly burnt out and feel undervalued by the Government’s failure to take any action to address pay erosion. We heard from over 13,000 junior doctors in our recent survey of members; 83% of those who responded believe this year’s 2% pay award is ‘completely unacceptable’, and 72% would be prepared to take industrial action if the Government does not commit to full pay restoration.
As a result, the committee will accelerate the timelines that had been set prior to this year’s derisory pay awards announcements. We will make a formal request to BMA council to support a ballot for industrial action, and enter formal dispute, if the Government does not commit to full restoration of junior doctors’ pay to levels equivalent to 2008/09 by the end of September this year. We have also written to the secretary of state for health and social care, reiterating our demands and commitment to action, should he fail to agree to full pay restoration for our members.
The coming weeks and months are going to be crucial in building the momentum behind our pay campaign, to increase the pressure on the Government to act on the clear demands of junior doctors. We urge you to mobilise and join our pay restoration campaign, and prepare for future industrial action.
How you can help
Junior doctor members in England can take action by:
- Updating your membership details, including your postal address. This is crucial as any legal industrial ballot must be conducted via post
- Joining our growing activist network
- Putting yourself forward for upcoming regional elections – nominations are now open
- Sharing our campaign materials
- Encouraging colleagues who aren’t members to join the BMA (with no membership fee until 1 October 2022). Our strength is in our unity.
We will keep you regularly informed on significant developments as soon as they emerge.
Sarah Hallett and Mike Kemp are co-chairs of the BMA junior doctors committee