DESPITE enormous pressure being piled onto the junior doctors to capitulate and either shorten their strikes or call them off altogether, the BMA has voted to hold fast and continue with the five-day strikes as planned.
The ruling council of the BMA, comprised of around 30 leading doctors, decided on Wednesday to continue backing the strikes. The committee debated options to reballot members, call off the strikes or shorten them. However, at the end of the meeting the vote went in favour of continuing with the plan for five days of strike action in October, November and December.
Junior doctors will stage a full withdrawal of labour for five days, between the hours of 8am and 5pm during the following periods:
• Wednesday October 5th, Thursday 6th and Friday October 7th (weekend covered) and then Monday October 10th and Tuesday October 11th.
• Then five days starting Monday 14th of November up until and including Friday 18th November.
• Five more days beginning Monday 5th December up until and including Friday 9th December.
BMA member Dr Aislinn Macklin-Doherty, who has worked in the NHS for the last eight years, told News Line yesterday: ‘I am very pleased that the BMA council decided to respect the 58% mandate to reject this contract and to escalate further action. We have to stand up to a government that is intransigent and intent on decimating the conditions of workers and patients in the NHS.
‘Myself and Doctor Mona Ahmed spoke at an NSSM meeting in the lead-up to the TUC conference and we requested a day of national action in support of the junior doctors and we felt like there was a lot of support for a national day of action. We think that the BMA should be doing more to work with the other unions.
‘We appreciated that the TUC voted for a motion of support for the junior doctors’ struggle and would be even more grateful if they would now call a national day of action.’
There is no doubt that the trade unions must come out with the junior doctors to defend the NHS and the right of unions to negotiate contracts. News Line urges all trade unions to call a Day of Action and a national demonstration on October 5th, the start of the junior doctors’ five-day strike action.
The task of defending the NHS and the trade unions cannot be left to the junior doctors alone – the whole trade union movement must join the fight.