Junior doctor strike ballot set to close amid pay dispute

The BMA has recommended junior doctors in Scotland vote for strike action amid a dispute over pay and conditions.

BMA ballot on strike action for junior doctors set to close amid pay dispute with Scottish Government iStock

A ballot on strike action by junior doctors is set to close at midday on Friday.

BMA Scotland members were asked to vote on a 72-hour walkout in a dispute over pay and conditions.

If members vote in favour then it would be the first national strike over pay by junior doctors in Scotland.

It comes after doctors in England took similar action across March and April.

The union claim pay awards for junior doctors in Scotland have resulted in real-term pay cuts of 23.5% since 2008.

The BMA are calling for a 23.5% rise to mitigate 15 years of “pay erosion”.

Union bosses also argue that, as a result of rising inflation, this year’s 4.5% uplift “is again being outstripped and the position on pay erosion will be worse by the end of the year”.

The Scottish Government have insisted the demands are “unaffordable”.

Junior doctors make up 44% of NHS doctors in Scotland, meaning strike action could impact planned operations as well as GP services.

Dr Chris Smith, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish Junior Doctors Committee previously said: “This is the Scottish Government’s last chance to engage with us positively, with respect and recognising our concerns about how poor pay is impacting on the workforce, retention of doctors and therefore the care the NHS can provide.”

However, the Scottish Government previously stated: “We’ve been clear their demands for an above retail price index pay increase, plus an additional ask of 23.5% – meaning a pay raise of more than 35% – are simply unaffordable.

“In Scotland, junior doctors have already been awarded a 4.5% pay uplift for 2022/23 recommended by the independent Doctors and Dentist Pay Review Body, and we are disappointed this ballot will go ahead as industrial action would be in no one’s interests.”

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