UNISON is backing strike action announced today (Thursday) by junior doctors who oppose changes to their contracts being proposed by the government.
It follows a ballot of more than 37,000 junior medics represented by the British Medical Association (BMA). They have voted unanimously in favour of three days of action in England next month.
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “The result is a sign of huge dissatisfaction with NHS pay. It sends a clear message that staff will no longer tolerate the government’s approach of making savings in the health service solely by withholding pay and cutting jobs.
“Jeremy Hunt might think that cutting the extra cash that junior doctors and other NHS staff receive for working at night or weekends – when most other people are either sleeping or enjoying their leisure time – is no big deal. But pay austerity has meant that health workers now rely on unsocial hours payments just to boost their shrinking salaries and make it through the month.
“The way the row with the junior doctors has escalated should show ministers that morale across the NHS is now on a knife edge. Employees across the health service will be watching how this dispute progresses with interest.”
The BMA ballot closed at 5pm yesterday (Wednesday) and was held in response to plans by Jeremy Hunt to bring in controversial new working arrangements.