GMB strikers demand ‘meaningful negotiations’

GMB members on strike outside the BMA head office in Tavistock Place, central London, yesterday
GMB members on strike outside the BMA head office in Tavistock Place, central London, yesterday

On their picket line outside the British Medical Association (BMA) yesterday, GMB members demanded the doctors association show respect for their own staff and increase their derisory pay offer.

The BMA has offered its staff a 1.5% basic pay rise plus a one off 0.5% Performance Related Pay that most staff will not get, says the GMB.

The GMB says this is far below offers that have been awarded in comparable organisations across the sector.

As well, the final pay offer for this year was made in the context of vastly increased workloads due to the NHS pensions issue, which the BMA is fighting on behalf of its own members.

Many additional hours and effort were put into the doctors’ ballot and day of action by BMA staff.

James Edwards and Joel Turner said: ‘This strike action is not just over pay, it’s about getting respect for our union and at work.

‘What the BMA are asking from the government for their members, is the same as what we are asking from them for ours, “meaningful negotiations” over our pay issues’.

The BMA staff are further incensed that the BMA has deducted full pay at a punitive rate for staff who took industrial action on 20 June, ignoring the many hours of unpaid additional work staff did in the weeks leading up to the doctors own industrial action, and contrary to the many deals negotiated by BMA staff which resulted in no pay deductions for doctors when they took action.

The GMB Convener said: ‘The strike is going very well. Picket lines are solid across the country and we have closed several BMA offices. The main forces are in Edinburgh where the BMA are meeting.

‘There has been good support from BMA members.

‘We are insisting the BMA come back with a more reasonable offer than the 1.5%. Most staff will get less.’

A GMB statement said the BMA was not in a state of financial crisis and currently has its highest ever membership rate (150,000) following a determined recruitment drive by its staff.

It has over £70 million in reserves and has received ‘a very substantial sum of money for the hire of meeting rooms at BMA House by an international sports brand during the Olympics, causing disruption to the working lives of BMA staff.’