Junior doctors in England stage 4-day strike over pay dispute
London, Apr 11 (EFE).- Junior doctors in England began a four-day strike on Tuesday amid concerns the walkout will affect hundreds of thousands of medical appointments and operations across the country.
The strike was called for amid an ongoing pay dispute between the government and the British Medical Association (BMA), which has said around 350,000 appointments, including operations, will be canceled due to the walkout.
The union claims UK-based doctors have seen a 26% pay cut in real terms since 2008 because any wage rises have been below inflation which currently sits at 10.1%.
“It continues to be the case that we call on the BMA junior doctors to cease their strikes and revise their starting point for negotiations, which is 35%, which we continue to believe is unreasonable and is not affordable for the British taxpayer,” a No 10 spokesperson said.
The BMA has warned that the low salaries are making it difficult to recruit and retain medical staff.
England’s NHS chief medical officer Stephen Powis has warned that services will be “stretched” and that the strike would “cause significant disruption”.
The NHS in England has urged medical staff to prioritize emergency care over other appointments to ensure people in life-threatening situations are cared for.
Health minister Steve Barclay said the strike was “extremely disappointing””We are ready to have discussions with them but clearly a demand for 35% – over £20,000 for some junior doctors – is not fair or reasonable,” he added.
The industrial action comes after unions across other sectors including ambulance, railway and airport staff and teachers walked out in a wave of strikes that started in December. EFE