Monday, September 25, 2023

Junior doctors in England have started a five-day strike with pay talks deadlocked -Dlight News

Receive free UK labor dispute updates

Junior doctors in England began the longest single walkout by doctors in NHS history on Thursday, a five-day strike that hospital bosses warned would further hamper efforts to tackle treatment backlogs.

The strike deepens a stand-off with Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government, which is fighting to curb inflation and has offered doctors a 5 percent raise this year. The British Medical Association, Doctors Union has rejected this.

The industrial action is to be followed next week by a two-day walkout by consultants and then a two-day strike by radiographers. Teachers unions are also preparing for a new wave of action when schools return this fall.

Talks between the BMA and the government have stalled, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt refusing to borrow more money to fund the 6 per cent public sector pay rise recommended by independent pay review bodies for 2023-24.

The BMA, which has demanded a 35 per cent pay rise, urged Health Secretary Stephen Barclay to follow the lead of the Scottish Government, which averted a strike last week by agreeing a 17.5 per cent pay deal over two years with the Scottish BMA.

Barclay said it was “disappointing” that the strike was going ahead, saying the 35 per cent pay demand was “unreasonable” and out of line with inflation.

“If the BMA shows a willingness to go significantly beyond their current pay demands and call off this damaging and disruptive strike, we can go to the table to find a fair deal to resolve this dispute,” he added.

BMA Junior Doctors Committee co-chairs Vivek Trivedi and Robert Lawrence accused the government of “absolute intolerance” for refusing to talk to doctors unless they reduce their pay demands. The BMA says the demands represent 15 years of pay erosion.

“If the UK government would only follow the example of the government in Scotland and drop their absurd precondition of not talking we could call off this strike today,” they added.

Eight months of industrial action have led to more than 650,000 routine procedures and appointments being rescheduled, with thousands more likely to be delayed, according to NHS providers representing NHS hospital trusts.

Sir Julian Hartley, the body’s chief executive, said there was “disappointment and deep concern” among trust leaders at the lack of a clear resolution to the strike. They were making it “increasingly difficult” to improve productivity, he said, adding that industrial action in April alone had cost the NHS £100mn in overtime pay for consultants and lost earnings.

Hartley warned that escalating industrial action would lead to unprecedented levels of disruption to patient care and further threaten dental staff morale.

A survey of NHS providers found that only 43 per cent of NHS trust leaders expect to meet the interim recovery target that 76 per cent of patients attending accident and emergency should be seen within four hours.

“I think this is probably the most challenging period of operational pressure the NHS has faced, and I think the impact of the strike action has made it all the more difficult,” Hartley added.

Members of the NASUWT protest
NASUWT is preparing a program of action starting in September © Jane Barlow/PA

NASUWT, the teachers’ union, announced on Wednesday that its members had voted to strike but it was calling for “short industrial action from strike action” for now, with 94 per cent voting in favor of the move overall. 52 percent.

The union said it is preparing a program of action starting in September, in which teachers are expected to work for the regime – covering extra-curricular activities and refusing to perform routine administrative tasks.

Other unions, including the National Education Union (NEU) and unions for headteachers and college leaders, NAHT and ASCL, are holding new ballots for industrial action, which will close later this month.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said the government should accept the School Teacher Review Body’s recommendation, which it believes is 6.5 per cent – an increase the union says could settle the dispute.

“The Government still has time to avoid industrial action in the autumn term by publishing the School Teacher Review physical pay recommendations and engaging in negotiations with teaching unions,” he added.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles