Trade unionists to join junior doctors picket lines

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Junior doctors last Saturday joined forces with student nurses who are determined to defend bursaries and defeat tuition fees
Junior doctors last Saturday joined forces with student nurses who are determined to defend bursaries and defeat tuition fees

TRADE unionists are flocking to the junior doctors picket lines this morning.

Matt Wrack, general secretary at the Fire Brigades Union, said: ‘Our people who have the day off work will go along to the pickets in support of junior doctors.’

Ian Hodson, president at the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, said ‘I am standing with our junior doctors.’

The PCS, which represents civil servants, confirmed yesterday that its members will be joining the doctors picket lines.

Sarah Cook, head of health at Unite, told News Line: ‘We are activly encouraging our members to support the junior doctors on picket lines where and when they can.’

Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘NHS staff fear that the dispute with junior doctors could be the dry run for a much bigger confrontation. They suspect ministers also want to axe the unsocial hours payments that they get for working nights and weekends.

‘Working additional night and weekend shifts has helped many health staff survive the government’s harsh and ongoing pay freeze. That’s why so many of them across England are joining picket lines during their lunchtimes and breaks tomorrow to show the health secretary that, while everyone wants to see a seven-day NHS, his approach to achieving it is completely wrong.’

GMB also called on its members to bring their flags and banners to support the junior doctors on their pickets.

GMB said: ‘Junior doctors are at forefront of resisting further cuts to pay and conditions in the NHS where pay has fallen by 10% in real terms since 2008.’

Rehana Azam, GMB Acting National Secretary for public services, said: ‘Junior doctors are at the forefront of resisting further cuts to pay and conditions in the NHS, where pay has fallen by 10% in real terms since 2008.

‘The overwhelming vote by junior doctors has shown clearly that doctors and other NHS staff will oppose attempts by government to redefine unsocial hours and to open the door for excessive working hours.

‘The BMA, in standing up for junior doctors, is standing up for the NHS and the GMB stand in solidarity with all NHS staff standing up to defend their terms and condition.’