Escalation of Industrial Action

As many of you will be aware BOTA ran a consultation with the regional linkmen to get a view on escalation of industrial action which was presented to the JDC on Thursday the 25th of February at the multi-specialty working group’s specialty update on contracts. This was taken into consideration at the JDC’s next meeting.

On Friday the 18th of March the JDC met to discuss the impact and subsequent trajectory of the industrial action opposing the imposition of a contract that is both unsafe and unfair. This meeting was held in camera (meaning observers such as myself are asked to leave) however I am told there was a significant majority support for escalation of the industrial action. This was then proposed to the disputes committee of the BMA for consideration on the legality and timescale of the changes proposed to industrial action.

The BMA has today released a statement from Dr Johann Malawana, chair of the JDC informing us of the following plan for escalation of industrial action:-

6th – 7th April 08:00 – 08:00           Emergency care model as per previous industrial action

26th – 27th April 08:00 – 17:00     Full withdrawal of labour

26th – 27th April 17:00 – 08:00      Emergency care model

I implore all members of BOTA (including those whom are not BMA members – its not too late to join your union) to stand shoulder to shoulder with the BMA in all planned industrial actions. I am sure that there will be some members whom feel this gradual escalation is not radical enough whilst others will feel a total withdrawal of labour is too far. Gradual escalation is the only way to allow hospitals to re-arrange consultant cover and ensure patient safety, a point on which we cannot ethically compromise. In order to bring the department of health back to the negotiating table we must present a united front. If there is poor participation in any area of industrial action we may lose significant ground with the government interpreting it as a weakening of our resolve.

Even if these contractual changes will not directly affect you such as senior trainees and our Celtic colleagues it will affect the calibre and ability to train of your future junior doctors so consider finding a way to add your voice to ours in NHS England.

It is easy to lose sight of what this dispute is about as we are now seven months since we balloted for industrial action. Below are the key outstanding issues not covered by the so called ‘Dalton Contract’

  1. Re-defining Saturday as a normal working day

  2. What hours constitute a night shift

  3. The use of flexible pay premia to incentivise unpopular specialties

  4. Transitional pay protection

  5. Non-resident on call availability allowance

  6. Weekend working allowances

  7. Use of fines incurred for breaching safe working

  8. The escalation process for the guardians

  9. Compensation for missed breaks

Lastly please be aware that booking is now open for the BOTA Educational Congress, Mr Danny Ryan has put a huge amount of work into re-launching the BOTA weekend and the line-up is truly spectacular

Lets stand together as one profession

James Shelton

BMA Observer BOTA @bota_bma


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