Young doctors launch a three-day strike | UK News
Tens of thousands of young doctors launch a three-day strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.
Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) in England will form picket lines outside hospitals across the country in the longest period of industrial action by young doctors.
It comes ahead of strikes by several unions on Budget Day, in what will be one of the biggest days of industrial action in years.
Workers taking action include civil servants, teachers, university staff, London Underground drivers and BBC journalists. Rallies will be held across the country, with a large demonstration in Westminster.
Public sector unions have lambasted the government for its handling of the pay disputes, which have been escalating for months.
NHS executives said they feared the walkout would take the disruption caused by recent strikes to the next level, posing a risk to patient safety and delaying work to reduce backlogs of care.
Talks between the government and other health unions will continue this week in hopes of a breakthrough in the long-running dispute over NHS pay.
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The BMA said newly qualified doctors earned £14.09 an hour, less than a barista in a cafe, adding junior doctors in England would have taken a 26% pay cut in real terms since 2008 /09.
An advertising campaign launched by the union states: “Pret a Manger has announced that it will pay up to £14.10 an hour. A junior doctor earns just £14.09.
“Thanks to this government, you can make more coffee than saving patients. This week, young doctors will go on strike to get paid what they are worth.”
Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, co-chairs of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, said: “Is £14.09 an hour really worth all the junior doctors? They are people who can provide life-saving care, having undergone intensive medical school training, and racking up around £100,000 in debt in the process.
“We are fully in favor of every worker getting an inflationary pay rise, and it’s worth thinking about the fact that the government has slashed young doctors’ pay so much that they could earn more in serving coffee.
“Is it any wonder that young doctors are looking for jobs overseas or in other fields when the government tells them they are worth more than a quarter less than they were in 2008?
“Losing such valuable clinicians to other countries and professions as waiting lists reach record highs means patients will suffer even more than they already are.
“This is why doctors are going on strike. We are fighting to restore our pay. We are fighting to restore our value. We are fighting to restore our workforce to make the NHS a healthcare system again effective.”
“Very disappointing”, says the Prime Minister
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters: “It is very disappointing that the Junior Doctors Union is not engaging with the government.
“We actually have a constructive dialogue with other unions who have accepted our offer to come and talk about it.
“As you have seen with the railways (…) they have made an offer to their members, we have a constructive dialogue with the nurses’ unions and all the other health unions and I urge young doctors to do the same and to accept the government’s offer to come and discuss, the other unions have done so and we are making progress.”
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