Junior Doctors Protest 25072022 10 Junior Doctors Protest 25072022 10

Pay restoration for junior doctors in Wales

Junior doctor pay in Wales has eroded substantially since 2008. With waiting times recently at an all time high in Wales, now more than ever the value of recruiting and retaining junior doctors is evident. That’s why we’re fighting for fair pay. That’s why we’re fighting for full pay restoration.

Ballot to strike - open 6 November until 18 December


WJDC co-chairs Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr Peter Fahey said:


"After a decade’s worth of real terms pay cuts, chronic staff shortages and persistent underfunding, enough is enough.


“We stand at a pivotal crossroads where inaction is no longer an option. If we fail to stand up for ourselves, the opportunity to save our profession may slip through our grasp forever.


Don't miss your chance to vote YES for strike action- post your ballot back before 11 December to make sure it's counted.


Not received your ballot paper? Let us know if your paper hasn’t arrived and if you’re eligible to vote, we will send one straight out to you.


If you have questions around the ballot and on taking part in strike action see our guidance here.

Strike ballot closing in:

Ballot closing

What we are asking for

The Welsh Government committed to the principle of full pay restoration to 2008 levels. Despite this commitment, in our recent pay negotiations it made a first and final offer to uplift our pay by a derisory 5%. This is the worst pay offer for junior doctors in the UK and is below even the DDRB recommendation. Just two weeks after rejecting the Welsh Government’s pay offer, the Welsh junior doctors committee voted unanimously to ballot members on industrial action.

We continue to call on Welsh Government to provide a credible offer and to make good on its commitment and restore the pay of junior doctors in Wales to the same level as it was at in 2008/09.

Why we are asking for full pay restoration

Despite receiving an additional uplift for 2022/23, and a commitment to the principle of full pay restoration by the Welsh Government, our pay has continued to erode in Wales. As shown in the graph below, our pay has now been cut by 29.6% in real terms (RPI) since 2008/09. We are not worth more than a quarter less than we were in 2008. To make matters worse, whilst our pay has decreased, student debt has only increased.

Because of sub-inflationary pay increases, it is now less attractive to work and train in Wales and more of us are leaving to work in other countries. Students are leaving medical school before finishing their training, or deciding not to study medicine at all. The recruitment crisis facing the NHS is a risk to its future here in Wales, and this will only continue to get worse if our pay does not improve.

What’s happening in Wales?

We prepared for and entered pay talks with the Welsh Government in good faith at the beginning of August. Despite the health minister’s commitment to full pay restoration to 2008 levels, the first and final offer for junior doctors was a sub-inflationary uplift of 5%. This is the worst pay offer for junior doctors in the UK.

With no other offer forthcoming, we had no option other than to move towards balloting members on taking industrial action. We’ve also made clear that the first round of action will take the form of a 72-hour full walk out.

When will I receive a ballot?

The ballot opened on Monday 6 November and you should receive your ballot by post within a week of this date. If you have not received your ballot after this time, please fill out a ballot request form.

The ballot closes on 18 December, however, to ensure your vote is counted it’s important you post this back to us at your earliest available opportunity. We’ll be sending ballots out by post so log in now to make sure your details are up to date.

If the ballot hasn’t taken place yet, why has the form of the first round of strike action been announced?

We think it’s helpful for you to understand what industrial action will look like when you make a decision on whether to vote Yes to taking industrial action.

If we rejected the pay offer, why has Welsh Government announced a pay rise?

Although we rejected the pay offer and are now working towards a ballot of BMA junior doctor members in Wales, the Welsh Government made the decision to impose the pay uplift upon us. We encourage you to save the backpay received in October and  additional income in preparation for industrial action.

Junior doctors in Scotland

In Scotland it wasn’t until we achieved a ballot in favour of IA that the government came around the table for serious talks on junior doctors’ pay. The resulting final pay offer from the Scottish Government was put to members but rejected. As a result, we moved towards strike action in Scotland to push the government for a more credible offer which could be put to members which then resulted in a new offer and strike action was paused while a new vote on the offer was taken by members. Which finally concluded with accepting the Scottish Governments offer.

How we got here

Pay Article Illustration
Junior doctors' pay eroded

Our calculations show that the DDRB recommendations and subsequent pay awards by Welsh Government for junior doctors in Wales have delivered a real terms pay cut of 29.6% since 2008, compared with RPI inflation

As a result, WJDC voted by an overwhelming majority to align with the BMA’s UK position established at the 2022 BMA Annual Representative Meeting, to:

  • achieve pay restoration to 2007 value for its members within the next five years or sooner and
  • to evidence its progress against this aim at every ARM until restoration is achieved.

Junior doctor pay erosion analysis methodology - June 2023

Read more about our decision to support the ARM motion

Read our blog

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Junior doctors campaigning Jan-June 2023

What's happened in Wales from Jan-June 2023. See a timeline of events.

What have we done in Wales to try and avoid the need to take industrial action?
Taking industrial action is always a last resort. Below, we outline the actions that we’ve taken here in Wales to try and achieve a fair pay uplift. With the breakdown of negotiations, the Welsh Government has given us no other option than to ballot for industrial action. We remain open to negotiation if a credible offer is presented to us. 

January 2023

We wrote to Welsh minister for health and social services outlining the pay erosion faced by junior doctors in Wales and requesting an urgent meeting to discuss pay. 
We subsequently met with the health minister and she said she would consider making a public statement regarding pay erosion and full pay restoration.  

February 2023

We joined additional last-minute pay talks alongside other health unions, where the Welsh Government offered to increase last year’s pay uplift from 4.5% to 6% and provide a one-off payment of 1.5%.  These talks were to 
avert further strike action from other health unions.  At this point, the BMA was not in a trade dispute with Welsh Government.  As part of this, the Welsh Government also committed to the principle of full pay restoration to 2008 
Although the Welsh junior doctor committee voted to reject this enhanced pay offer as it still wasn’t enough to start reversing the pay erosion we’ve faced, the BMA’s majority view and that of the other health trade unions, was to vote to accept it.

March 2023

We wrote to the minister again to make clear our reasons for rejecting the pay offer and requesting a timeline for full pay restoration (FPR) to avert strike action. You can read more about this in our blog post

April 2023

In response to our pressure, the Welsh Government agreed to enter into pay talks for the 2023/24 pay year. We needed to exhaust these talks before declaring a trade dispute. 

May 2023

We made internal preparations to enter negotiations with the Welsh Government. 

June 2023  

We asked you for your thoughts on an acceptable pay uplift and your views on industrial action via the junior doctor member pay survey.
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Junior doctors campaigning July 2023 -

What's happened in Wales from July 2023 onwards. See a timeline of events.

July 2023

Alongside colleagues from the other secondary care branches of practice, we entered pay talks with the Welsh Government. Government officials attended with no pay envelope to negotiate, noting that a cabinet meeting 
was required to consider this. We used the opportunity to outline the importance of providing a fair pay offer to junior doctors and of restoring pay to 2008/09 levels.
First Pay and Pizza events held at University Hospital Wales, Royal Gwent Hospital and Morriston hospital to raise awareness of the pay erosion faced by junior doctors in Wales and ensure we were ballot ready if no credible offer 
was made. Get in touch with us if you are interested in hosting a Pay and Pizza event at your workplace.

August 2023

Pay talks resumed. The Welsh Government provided an opening and final offer of 5% for junior doctors. This is the worst pay offer for junior doctors in the UK and is below even the DDRB recommendation. Our negotiation team withdrew from talks on the basis that no credible pay offer was on the table.
WJDC held an extraordinary meeting to consider the pay offer and unanimously decided to ballot 
members on taking industrial action. 
BMA’s UK Council considered and approved the WJDC application to ballot for industrial action.
Further Pay and Pizza events held across hospital sites in Wales to increase awareness of the pay restoration campaign in Wales and the status of our pay talks with the Welsh Government.

September 2023

Our update your contact details campaign was launched and members encouraged to update their contact details to ensure these are up to date ahead of a ballot opening.
WJDC wrote to the Welsh Government confirming BMA UK Council approval for balloting and making clear its willingness to re-enter negotiations if a credible pay offer is made.
WJDC announced that the first round of industrial action will take the format of a 72-hour full walkout.
Pay and Pizza events continue to be held and are used to explain why pay negotiations came to an end and why the decision was taken to ballot members.
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