Junior doctors are presenting a strong case for a pay rise ahead of a four-day strike this week – citing the fact that MP salaries have risen almost in line with inflation whereas they have taken a 26 per cent pay cut.
Doctors’ representatives have taken to the TV studios to explain their case – and it is compelling.
Here’s Dr Amir Khan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain:
He adds that Steve Barclay isn't coming forward with 'any credible offers'. pic.twitter.com/WbqmCljOhf
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) April 10, 2023
Part of the problem, it seems, is that the Tory government simply isn’t telling anybody its own starting position for pay negotiations. Here’s Dr Mike Greenhalgh on BBC Breakfast:
Charlie Stayt – Steve Barclay wants you to drop your 35% pay rise claim?
Dr Mike Greenhalgh(BMA Junior Doctors) – "That's isn't a pay rise, that just reverses the pay cuts… that means a first-year doctor going from £14 an hour to £19 an hour…" #BBCBreakfast pic.twitter.com/vyq4YP7dCr
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) April 8, 2023
With no movement from either side, NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor has called for the independent Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) to be contacted for help with negotiations.
Acas used to be in the news all the time during the strikes of the 1970s and 80s, but seems to have fallen out of favour over recent decades.
Mr Taylor warned that 350,000 appointments and operations could be cancelled during the four-day strike that starts tomorrow (Tuesday, April 11, 2023) and said both sides needed help to progress:
We should consider asking the government and the trade unions to call in Acas, the conciliation service, to provide some basis for negotiations, because if anything the positions seem to have hardened over the last couple of days.
Services are stretched and there’s no question there will be a risk to patient safety, there will be a risk to patient dignity because we’re unable to provide the kind of care we want.
To be facing this situation where those waiting lists are going to get longer, cancelling work, not being able to guarantee the level of care you want to provide – well that’s heartbreaking for an NHS leader.
Health secretary Steve Barclay has said he is refusing to negotiate until doctors pause their strike and step back from their demand to have pay brought back to parity with its position in 2010.
He’s saying he wants junior doctors to accept that they deserve lower pay rises than he does.
Considering the huge amount of good that doctors do for so many people every day, and the huge amount of harm that the Conservative government of the last 13 years has done to so many more, This Writer has a question:
Who do you think is being unrealistic?
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