The Junior Doctors’ Committee of the British Medical Association plans to ballot its members for industrial action in response to government attempts to impose a new contract from August 2016.
Junior doctors believe the contract would increased the amount of hours seen as “plain time”; an effective pay cut for junior doctors, who do more out of hours work. The contract will also remove financial penalties for employers who overwork junior doctors.
The attempted imposition of the contract has led to a furious response from rank-and-file doctors, who demanded action from the BMA. A petition on the website change.org calling for strike action got over 50,000 signatures. The BMA has responded by calling the ballot, stating it requires key commitments from the government before it will re-enter negotiations.
These conditions include proper safeguards to protect patients and their doctors including: pay for all work done; no disadvantage for those working less than full time or on parental leave; no disadvantage for those working anti-social hours; proper recognition of anti-social hours as premium time.
On Monday 28 September thousands of junior doctors protested in central London when NHS employers pulled out of talks at the last minute. It is clear that there is a strong desire to take on the government. We could be witnessing the start of a new stage in the fight to defend our National Health Service.
We should do all we can to support our healthcare workers in their struggle.