Scottish doctors cast final pensions votes
23 November 2012
Doctors in Scotland have a last chance to make their voices heard as a ballot on industrial action over pension changes draws to a close.
Secondary care doctors have until 8am on November 28 to get their ballot papers in, before a meeting of the BMA UK council later that day.
Doctors are being asked if they are prepared to take industrial action short of a strike and if they are prepared to take part in a strike. If they support the action, for maximum legal protection, doctors should answer yes to both questions.
If there is a mandate there would be further, escalated industrial action over pensions, involving three or more days of strike action where emergency cover only would be provided. The first day of action would be December 12.
Leaders of the branches of practice taking part in the ballot urged members to vote, regardless of whether they backed the action or not, saying it was important that as many people as possible took the opportunity to have their say.
Although the changes to pensions are being driven by Westminster, the Scottish government has discretion to vary some UK terms, particularly around contribution levels.
However, BMA Scottish consultants committee deputy chair Nikki Thompson said doctors were disappointed with the Scottish government’s failure to do this.
She said: ‘The Scottish government raised the hopes of Scottish doctors by entering into talks with unions, but has so far done nothing. This is simply not good enough, and is why we have had no choice but to call this ballot.
‘We are not looking for special treatment — we are looking for treatment which is fair and just.’
Quotes when doctors vote
BMA Scottish junior doctors committee chair Tom Berry said juniors must make their voices heard: ‘Junior doctors are among the most affected by these imposed changes to our pensions. Over the course of our careers we will be paying far more, for longer. It’s important that we make our voices heard and show we will fight for fair pensions.’
BMA Scottish staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors committee co-chair Morag Gorrie said: ‘SAS doctors in Scotland are affected by pension changes just as much as their consultant and junior colleagues and are angry and frustrated. We need to get that message across to the Scottish government by voting in the ballot.’
BMA Scottish council joint deputy chair Charles Saunders said: ‘The ongoing inactivity of the Scottish government has brought us to this point — they said they’d do something about the unfair cash grab imposed by Westminster and they haven’t. That’s why we called the ballot and it’s why doctors must vote “yes yes”.’
BMA Scottish council joint deputy chair Sally Winning, co-chair of the SSASC, said: ‘For doctors to be considering striking, even while providing emergency care, shows just how angry we are about this issue. There is a lot of anger out there among the profession and in order to demonstrate this we need a strong “yes yes” vote. It is imperative that everyone votes and makes their views known.’