Doctors threaten to join rail workers by going on strike as they demand 30pc pay rise

Dr Emma Runswick, a junior doctor from Salford who presented the motion to the conference, said it was likely that the demand could not be met without industrial action.

She said: “Pay restoration is the right, just and moral thing to do, but it is a significant demand and it won’t be easy to win.

“I know that it’s likely that industrial action will be required to move the governments on this issue.”

The motion backs a campaign to increase pay for all doctors – including hospital consultants, who earn around £120,000 a year on average, and GPs, who earn an average of £100,000.

It also covers junior doctors, who earn between £29,000 and £58,000 per year.

‘I’ll see you on the picket lines’

Joanna Sutton-Klein, 28, a trainee accident and emergency doctor, praised recent strike actions by bin collectors, airport workers and cleaners. She said she hoped doctors would join picket lines “within the next six months”.

She told the meeting: “Some people might think the demand for full pay restoration is too high – they might even think it is outrageous. But I’ll tell you what is outrageous … that our pay continues to be cut.

“All around us workers are coming together in trade unions and winning big – last month bin collectors in Manchester, 22 per cent; Gatwick airport workers won a 21 per cent pay increase two weeks ago; and in March cleaners and porters at Croydon hospital won a 24 per cent pay rise.

“Those workers got together and used a key tool that trade unions have – the ability to collectively organise, collectively negotiate and collectively withdraw our labour … vote for this motion and I’ll see you on the picket lines.”

The motion passed by the union said pay has failed to keep up with inflation, meaning a loss of up to 30 per cent in real terms.

It states that “this represents a career earnings loss amounting to millions of pounds for each of us”.

The motion passed called for  “pay restoration” within the next five years – but many doctors said this “wasn’t soon enough”, calling for pay rises within the next six months.

‘Woeful failure’ to reverse cuts

GPs voted last year in favour of industrial action in protest to a contract which will extend their hours.

So far, they have not taken it. But they are due to vote on Tuesday on another motion opposing the contact, which could include industrial action.

Dr Vishal Sharma, chairman of the BMA consultants’ committee, said the union was considering “potential forms of action” to ensure doctors get better pay.

He said: “It’s clear that our members will no longer tolerate the Government’s woeful failure to reverse these cuts. Government inaction would be completely unacceptable in any circumstances, but is especially insulting when we consider the immense sacrifices made during the Covid-19 pandemic and the efforts staff went to in order to keep patients safe.”

The Government “has it within its gift” to solve the pay issue with it leading to industrial disputes, he added, warning: “If they fail to do this, the BMA will need to support members in order to restore their pay.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are incredibly grateful to all our NHS staff and we recognise the pressures caused by the rising cost of living.

“NHS staff received a three per cent pay rise last year, despite a public sector pay freeze, and in 2019 the Government and the BMA agreed to a multi-year pay deal for doctors in training, which guaranteed an 8.2 per cent rise in pay over four years.

“We are giving NHS workers another pay rise this year – no decisions have been made and we will carefully consider the recommendations from the independent pay review bodies.”

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