…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that it will begin taking the “first steps” towards a new ballot for industrial action, despite ongoing negotiations with the Government to resolve a pay dispute.
The BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee stated that the potential reballot would send the Government a “clear message” that they could not “run down the clock” until the union’s current mandate runs out.
The BMA’s current mandate runs until August, and they have not called further strikes since entering into negotiations with Health Secretary Steve Barclay last month.
Dr Emma Runswick, the BMA’s deputy chairwoman of council, said that the negotiations were “talks about talks” but expressed cautious optimism that they would lead to an agreement following months of deadlock.
She emphasised that the strike action was unnecessary and that they had told the government last summer that they were looking to open negotiations.
Separately, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced that a fresh ballot for strike action would begin on May 23 and run for a month.
This comes after members rejected a pay offer that involved a one-off lump sum and a 5% pay rise for next year, despite the union recommending the deal.
The RCN’s new ballot will be aggregated, meaning it would have a mandate to strike in every NHS trust in England.
To achieve a country-wide mandate, half of all eligible members must vote, and the majority must say “yes” to strike action.
The RCN’s General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, called on nurses to “force the government back to the negotiating table and to make an improved pay offer.”
Analysis and Commentaries:
The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing are two of the largest trade unions representing healthcare workers in the UK.
The ongoing disputes regarding pay and working conditions highlight the growing tensions between healthcare workers and the government.
The BMA and RCN’s decision to reballot for industrial action indicates that healthcare workers are willing to continue the fight for better pay and conditions, despite the ongoing negotiations
. The decision to reballot for industrial action comes at a time when the NHS is dealing with the aftermath of the most significant period of industrial action in the health service’s history, making it increasingly challenging for the government to balance the needs of healthcare workers with the needs of the NHS.