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:
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
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.
What's happened in Wales from Jan-June 2023. See a timeline of events.
What's happened in Wales from July 2023 onwards. See a timeline of events.
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- Join or start local events, meetings and activities in support of the campaign.
Download a range of campaign materials to share on social media and in your communal work and rest areas.