Support the junior doctors’ strike!

Posted by sll33 at Jan 12, 2016 10:15 AM |

Junior doctors took strike action today, the first walkout by doctors for 41 years.

All three of Leicester’s hospitals had picket lines. The action has been prompted by a breakdown in contract negotiations between Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the doctors’ union, the British Medical Association (BMA).

Hunt had offered a basic pay rise of 11%, which appears generous on the face of it, but the rise in basic pay won't make up for the overtime they will lose elsewhere, and it still amounts to a pay cut. The British Medical Association balloted its members on industrial action and the thumping great mandate for industrial action result smashed through even the toughest of strike thresholds being proposed by the Tories in their Trade Union Bill.

Of the 37,155 junior doctors balloted, 28,316 (76%) took part in the vote on full strike action. Just 564 of these voted against a strike! If the government does not budge in negotiations, there are a possible three further days of strike action planned in January and February. Junior doctors already work much longer hours than most of us would be prepared to accept – 70 or 80 hours a week is not unusual.

One striker told me this morning, “You wouldn't want your life in the hands of a pilot too tired to think straight. So why, when 98% of us have told Jeremy Hunt that his contract is dangerous, is he still refusing to listen?” The national health committee of Unite, which represents 100,000 members in the health service, has pledged to support the junior doctors’ fight for safe, fair working contracts. They have our solidarity and full support.

Tom Mycock

University of Leicester Unite Member

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