On Monday 15th January our junior doctor colleagues begin their first round of strike action in Wales in the form of a 72 hour walk out, taking place between 7am Monday 15 January 2024 and 7am Thursday 18 January 2024.
Welsh specialist, associate specialist and specialty doctors committee (WSASC) fully supports our colleagues and their decision to take this form of action. The message our junior doctors are sending to Welsh Government by undertaking this industrial action is clear – The profession is overworked, undervalued and we refuse to continue to have our concerns ignored.
We stand united in a collective endeavour to improve the pay and working conditions for all doctors in Wales, we have all been undervalued for far too long.
Covering for junior doctors during industrial action
One of the biggest ways you can support our junior doctors is by providing cover for them whilst they strike. By agreeing to cover junior doctor work you are not undermining the strike; you are strengthening it. We have developed guidance for SAS doctors detailing your rights when providing cover during industrial action by junior doctors. We encourage you to consult the guidance before Monday and urge you to make use of the SAS rate card when undertaking extra-contractual work.
Please remember that during industrial action, the responsibility to provide safe patient care lies with your employers.
Other ways to support junior doctors during industrial action
On Tuesday 16 January a mass demonstration at 12 noon will be held outside the Senedd building in Cardiff Bay. Whilst this is a demonstration over junior doctors pay, ALL doctors are welcome, as well as medical students and campaign supporters. This is our opportunity to unite and directly show our collective strength of feeling to the Welsh Government and opposition parties. The more of us who attend, the louder our voice.
Encourage junior doctor colleagues to join a picket line at their place of work or the nearby off-site demonstration. Although only junior doctors can be on the official picket line, we encourage you to visit the pickets (perhaps taking some hot drinks or snacks!) and join the nearby off-site demonstration as a powerful show of solidarity.
SAS ballot on industrial action in Wales
We continue to press ahead with our campaign to restore SAS pay in Wales. Our ballot will open on Monday 22 January
All eligible BMA members will start receiving their ballot paper by post shortly after Monday 22 January - this can take up to one week. We will share further details from Monday 29 January on how you can order a replacement if you’ve not had your ballot paper by then. Please make sure your employment details and postal address are up-to-date by logging into your BMA account.
The more of us who take part in this ballot and vote YES, the stronger and louder our message to the Welsh Government will be. The insulting offer of a 5% pay uplift for some doctors, and even less for those on the 2021 contracts, remains unacceptable. The Welsh Government must return to the negotiating table with a credible offer which delivers on their commitment to full pay restoration.
Let’s stand together united in defence of our profession
Julie Jones is deputy chair of the Welsh BMA staff, associate and specialty doctors committee