Doctors to decide on industrial action ballot

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Doctors to decide on industrial action ballot

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:04 am

Doctors' representatives are holding an emergency meeting to decide whether or not to ballot for industrial action. If the British Medical Association council decides to go ahead, it will be the first time doctors have been balloted for action since 1975.

The dispute is over pension changes, which would see the highest earning doctors' contributions rising to 14.5%.

Doctors last took action in 1975

The BMA says anger is "running deep". Ministers say the current scheme is unsustainable. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said the NHS pension scheme is "amongst the best available anywhere".

'Some form of action'

The BMA says it "very much wants" to reach an agreement through negotiation and to avoid industrial action "if at all possible". But a survey of 130,000 BMA members in January found almost two-thirds of the 46,000 who responded said they would be prepared to take some form of industrial action if the government did not change its offer. However, that could range from withdrawing non-emergency care to taking all breaks - or simply "working without enthusiasm".

Under the government's plans, the final salary scheme would close and be replaced by a career average scheme for all doctors. The normal pension age would rise to 68, and contributions could reach 14.5% for the highest earners by 2014.

Talks over the deal between unions and the government reached a standstill in December. The BMA says it has requested further talks with the government, but that it has had no response.

Earlier this month the Unite trade union said it was considering holding a fresh strike ballot of its 100,000 members in the NHS over their continuing pension dispute.

'Fair deal for staff'

The BMA formally became a union in 1971, and has only taken industrial action in 1975, when consultants suspended goodwill activities and worked to contract over a contractual dispute.

Junior doctors also worked a restricted 40-hour week because of a separate dispute over contracts. Since then, industrial action has been a possibility, but doctors have never been balloted.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the proposed changes are "a fair deal for staff and taxpayers". He added: "Doctors and consultants are among the highest earners in the NHS and have benefited hugely from the current final salary scheme arrangements compared to other staff groups. The biggest part of the cost of their pension is paid by the taxpayer - for every £1 that doctors pay into their pensions, they will get between £3 and £6 back. It is fair that higher earners pay greater contributions relative to those on lower and middle incomes. Lower earner members should not be footing the bill - that is why we have protected those on lower salaries."


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Doctors To Be Balloted On Industrial Action

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:12 pm

The decision comes after rejection by doctors and students of the "final" offer on pensions

More than 100,000 doctors will be balloted on industrial action over pensions as a row over the Government's controversial public sector reforms escalates.

British Medical Association (BMA) leaders have decided doctors and medical students should vote on whether to take action - the first ballot if its kind since the 1970s. However, the BMA ruled out strikes to limit the impact on patients across the country.

The move follows overwhelming rejection by doctors and medical students of the "final" offer on pensions.

The BMA said the changes would see younger doctors paying more than £200,000 extra over their lifetime in pension contributions and work eight years longer, to 68. Officials have urged the Government to reopen talks with the health unions, but said neither the Treasury or the Health Department had signalled any change to their position.

More to follow...

Most of you here know my thoughts on the public sector pension debate

I would have absolutely no issue with Doctors taking industrial action if it was warranted. However, this stinks of taking advantage of the power of those working in the public sector, those providing essential services. Demanding unrealistic benefits, disgraceful No


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