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Junior doctors plan strike prior to general election

Pay & Contracts
Tim Tonkin

BMA requested Government make final offer which failed to materialise forcing further action in England

Junior doctors in England are set to resume strike action ahead of the general election, following the Government’s failure to provide a credible offer over restoring pay.

The association’s junior doctors committee has announced doctors will stage a full, five-day walkout from 7am 27 June, unless the Government announces a ‘concrete commitment’ to restoring pay.

Following months of industrial action, the BMA announced earlier this month that it had agreed to enter externally mediated talks with the Government in an effort to reach a ‘credible solution’ over the long-running pay dispute.

Today’s announcement of renewed strikes comes after prime minister Rishi Sunak’s decision last week on 22 May to call a general election for 4 July.

Following this announcement, the association said it gave ministers a ‘final opportunity’ to make an offer and avoid further strike action, but that this request was ignored.

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Robert Laurenson and Vivek Trivedi said that doctors will now embark on a full walk-out by junior doctors beginning at 7am 27 June 2024 and ending 7am 2 July.

They said: ‘We made clear to the Government that we would strike unless discussions ended in a credible pay offer. For more than 18 months we have been asking Rishi Sunak to put forward proposals to restore the pay junior doctors have lost over the last 15 years – equal to more than a quarter in real terms. 

‘When we entered mediation with Government this month we did so under the impression that we had a functioning government that would soon be making an offer. Clearly no offer is now forthcoming. Junior doctors are fed up and out of patience.

‘Even at this late stage the prime minister has the opportunity to show that he cares about the NHS and its workers. It is finally time for him to make a concrete commitment to restore doctors’ pay. If during this campaign he makes such a public commitment that is acceptable to the BMA junior doctors committee, then no strikes need go ahead.'

The latest announcement on planned strikes in England come as junior doctors in Northern Ireland last week staged a 48-hour walkout over pay restoration, and are set to stage another two days of action from 6 June.

Consultants in Northern Ireland meanwhile are currently balloting over whether to follow their colleagues into industrial action.

Junior doctors, consultants, and SAS doctors in Wales have had their strike mandate extended as they continue talks with the devolved government.