SENIOR doctors in England will be consulted on taking industrial action if the government’s 1% pay rise offer is not improved.
The British Medical Association says it will ask members about stopping paid and unpaid overtime if there is not a figure nearer 4%.
The Royal College of Nursing has already said it will consider balloting over industrial action and has called for a 12.5% pay rise this year.
Pay review bodies covering most NHS workers have made recommendations which have not yet been published.
In England, ministers must decide whether in the light of those reports they will increase their proposed 1% offer or face NHS strike action.
Industrial action by consultants would involve stopping paid and unpaid overtime, which would affect patient clinics and attempts by hospitals to reduce waiting lists, the BMA says.
It argues that senior doctors are exhausted and feel undervalued because of previous below-inflation pay rises.
If industrial action is taken it would be the first by consultants since the 1970s, apart from a day of action over pensions in 2012.
Consultants, at the top end of NHS salary scales because of their years of medical experience and leadership, have not been minded to get involved in public pay disputes till now.
The Department of Health recommended the 1% pay award to the independent panel that advises the government on NHS salaries. It would cover nearly all hospital staff, but not GPs and dentists.
Nurses have described their proposed pay rise as ‘insulting’, with unions threatening strike action and warning that the ‘pitiful’ rise may lead staff to quit their jobs – worsening staffing issues in the health service.
This will be the biggest strike action since the 2016 junior doctors’ strike against Health Minister Hunt’s attempt to impose new contracts.
Any NHS action could rapidly develop into a general strike since millions of workers in the TUC trade unions regard NHS staff as heroes and heroines and will not stand by and watch them being mistreated by the Johnson government’s action.
They will take sympathy strike action to help win what is due to all NHS doctors and nurses.
Such action will rapidly develop into a general strike that will bring down the Tories and go forward to a workers’ government!