Scottish junior doctors vote in favour of 72-hour strike action over 'unacceptable' pay

·2-min read

Junior doctors in Scotland have voted for strike action in a row over pay.

BMA Scotland said that with more than 5,000 junior doctors in the country eligible to vote, turnout was in excess of 71% following a five-week ballot.

A total of 3,610 votes were cast, and almost 97% voted in favour of strike action.

The union said that while negotiations with the Scottish government over pay are ongoing, it will use "this clear mandate for strike action" to push forward in its ongoing efforts to reverse the "unacceptable pay erosion" junior doctors in Scotland have "suffered for more than a decade".

If the government does not "put forward a credible offer", the British Medical Association said its junior doctors will then begin preparations for a 72-hour walkout at dates to be confirmed in due course.

An increase of 4.5% has been rejected, with junior doctors claiming the offer was a real-terms pay cut.

The Scottish government has previously said the BMA's pay demands were "simply unaffordable".

Dr Chris Smith, chair of the BMA's Scottish Junior Doctors Committee, said: "This ballot result shows, beyond doubt, that junior doctors in Scotland have had enough."

Dr Smith claimed "years of pay erosion" has led to the take home salary of a newly qualified FY1 doctor decline by 23.5% in real-terms compared to 2008, and the pay of an average registrar reduced by 23.9%.

He added: "This is simply unacceptable, and we are no longer prepared to stand aside, feeling overworked and undervalued, while witnessing so many junior doctors seeking employment abroad or outside the NHS where our considerable skills are properly valued."

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The union said progress is being made with the Scottish government in formal negotiations, but "there is still some work to do".

Dr Smith said: "In the meantime - we will use this mandate to urge the cabinet secretary to signal a clear commitment to investing in the future of Scottish junior doctors, to make Scotland's NHS an attractive place to train, grow and progress our careers, and show us that the work we do is finally properly, and fairly, valued and appreciated."

Scotland's Health Secretary Michael Matheson said he was "disappointed" over the ballot result and said industrial action was in "no one's interest".

He added: "I will continue to do all I can to avert industrial action in NHS Scotland.

"Negotiations to agree a pay uplift are already under way. As these negotiations are held in confidence, it would be inappropriate to offer any further details at this time."