Junior doctors in England to strike for four days in April

Protest by junior doctors in London

LONDON (Reuters) -Unions representing junior doctors in England on Thursday announced a four-day strike next month, saying the government had failed to make a credible new pay offer.

The British government is engaged in pay disputes across several sectors as workers demand higher wages to keep pace with surging inflation, with strikes in schools, on railways and in hospitals taking place on a regular basis.

"We are not going to stop until we are paid what we are worth, and if ministers don’t accept that when we tell them in person, we will have to tell them from the picket line,” a statement by the joint chairs of the British Medical Association's junior doctors' committee Vivek Trivedi and Robert Laurenson said.

The walkout will begin at 0659 GMT on April 11 and run until 0659 GMT on April 15. The smaller Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association announced strikes on the same dates. Junior doctors last walked out for three days in March.

A spokesperson for Britain's Department of Health and Social Care said strikes would risk patient safety.

Junior doctors are qualified physicians, often with several years of experience, who work under the guidance of senior doctors and represent a large part of the country's medical community.

Health minister Steve Barclay said talks had been scuppered because unions were demanding a 35% pay rise as a pre-condition of the negotiations. Unions said the government had imposed other unacceptable pre-conditions on the talks.

"My door remains open to constructive conversations, as I have had with other health unions," Barclay said on Twitter.

Unions representing other healthcare workers in England, including nurses and paramedics, have agreed to a new government pay proposal aimed at ending months of strikes. They are currently balloting members on whether to accept it.

(Reporting by Muvija M, writing by William James and Farouq Suleiman, editing by Christina Fincher)