UK Doctors Demand 30% Pay Rise as Some Medics Say They May Have to Go on Strike
TEHRAN (FNA)- Doctors called for a 30% pay rise over the next five years with some medics saying they might have to take industrial action if their demands aren't met.
Delegates at the British Medical Association's (BMA) annual conference in Brighton voted to press ministers to agree to the increase, which they say makes up for real-term cuts to salaries since 2008, Sky News reported.
Some doctors who supported the motion pointed to the rail worker's strike as inspiration for how public sector workers should pursue pay demands with the current government.
Presenting the motion to the conference, Dr Emma Runswick 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."
"Every part of the BMA needs to plan for how to achieve this. But I'm not foolish, I know that it's likely that industrial action will be required to move the governments on this issue," she added.
She said that it is "outrageous" that doctors' pay has been cut by 30%, a sum that represents earnings losses amounting to "millions of pounds".
Dr Runswick added, "All around us, workers are coming together in trade unions and winning big - last month bin men in Manchester 22%; Gatwick airport workers won a 21% pay increase two weeks ago, and in March cleaners and porters at Croydon hospital won a 24% 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," she added.
Doctors also called on MPs to address staff shortages to help the NHS deal with record waiting lists, with one medic saying that "there's no rescue plan beyond 'work harder'".
Dr Jacqueline Davies told delegates, "There is an answer to the backlog and the unmanageable workloads facing exhausted NHS staff."
"The NHS is facing record demand with no additional capacity. Staff are leaving in droves and there's no rescue plan beyond 'work harder'," she added.
"We know that staff shortages lead to critical incidents and who gets the blame? We do, the burden falls on us," she said.
The deputy chair of the BMA Council noted that even before the pandemic waiting times were "too high" and have gone up to a "perilous level" due to the added pressure of COVID.
"We have a record 6.5 million people waiting for treatment in England, as well as the significant 'hidden backlog' of people who have still to come forward for care after the worst of the pandemic, or whose referrals were cancelled," Dr David Wrigley said.
"What is most unnerving for doctors - who have spent the last two years working at a pace and under a level of pressure they've never experienced before - is that plans to tackle this backlog in care lack any meaningful strategy to boost and support the workforce who will be responsible for it," he said.