No strike but campaign for pensions fairness continues
28 November 2012
Doctors leaders today ruled out strike action but reiterated their commitment to campaigning for a fairer pension deal for doctors.
The BMA UK council considered the results from four separate ballots of secondary care doctors in Scotland and decided the overall level of support for a strike that would have seen doctors provide emergency care only was insufficient to mount effective action.
BMA council also decided not to pursue a further ballot of UK hospital doctors.
Doctors leaders warned of 'damaged trust' between the Scottish government and NHS staff.
A majority of consultants and public health doctors voted against strike action. A total of 72.9 per cent of junior doctors and 52.4 per cent of staff, associate specialist and specialty doctors who voted said 'yes' to taking strike action. However, turnout was 28.6 per cent for juniors and 40.8 per cent for SAS doctors. Overall turnout in the ballot was 38.5 per cent.
BMA Scottish council chair Brian Keighley said: 'It is clear from the ballot result that although we don't have a clear overall mandate for strike action, doctors are angry about the way the Scottish government has handled plans to change NHS pensions.'
No Scottish alternative
The Scottish government has not put forward any alternative to the Westminster-led proposals, even though it said it opposed them and had devolved responsibility for some aspects, particularly contributions. Frustration at the lack of progress in the talks prompted the four ballots.
Dr Keighley added: 'The Scottish government must recognise that through the failure to act on their words of opposition, ministers have damaged trust among NHS staff.'
The decision today means proposed strike days in Scotland will not go ahead on December 12, January 8 and January 17.
Dr Keighley said: 'Although we are not taking industrial action, we will continue to lobby and campaign against the unfairness of these pension changes and we will work with the other NHS unions to press for meaningful negotiations in Scotland.'
Scottish health and well-being secretary Alex Neil welcomed the decision against industrial action.
He said: 'We are actively involved in discussions with the BMA and other NHS trade unions and we will continue to work in partnership with them to find a way forward on pensions issues with the ever-tighter constraints imposed upon us by Westminster.'