On Tuesday 12th January, at 8am, Junior Doctors will begin the first day of their planned strike action.
Picket lines will be outside the University Hospital, Walsgrave from 8am and at 1pm on the same day, Junor Doctors will be holding a ‘Meet the Doctors’ event outside Coventry Cathedral.
If you can attend one or both of the events to demonstrate your support that would be great. If you read on you will note that the Junior Doctors are asking trade unions and supporters to bring banners and placards. You can also send messages of support to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are excerpts from an appeal ‘A call from the BMA – to our fellow workers, trade unionists and activists: we need you!’ by Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis, a member of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee National Executive. The full statement can be read here
“Junior Doctors across England will be commencing industrial action on Tuesday 12th January. We are opposing this government’s attempt to impose an unsafe new contract on the medical profession. It is our view that the proposed contract represents an existential danger to the NHS as an institution.
You may be aware that the BMA had initially suspended its planned industrial action at the start of December and returned to talks with the Department of Health. That decision was made in good faith. However, over the last few weeks, in the course of negotiations with Government we have encountered only intransigence. It is clear that the government perceives our contract issue as pivotal for its attempt to “reform” the NHS towards a neoliberal, commercialised system.
It is therefore evident to us that we have no choice but to transform our 98% ballot mandate into action. The developments of the next few months will have consequences stretching far into the future. This government is wilfully putting at risk our patients’ safety, the tolerability of our working lives as NHS workers and the very viability of the NHS as a publicly-funded, publicly-provided service.
On behalf of the entire BMA we thank you all for your incredible support so far. Many of you will have seen the details with regards to the planned action and I will reiterate them below. We invite you to come out and display your visible support for us on the days of action.
The action will begin with an emergency care-only model, which would see junior doctors provide the same level of service that happens in their given specialty, hospital or GP practice on Christmas Day. It will then escalate to full walk-outs.
The action as proposed is:
Emergency care only — 24 hrs from 8am Tuesday 12 January to 8am Wednesday 13 January
Emergency care only — 48 hrs from 8am Tuesday 26th January to 8am Thursday 28 January
Full withdrawal of labour — from 8am to 5pm Wednesday 10th February
The aim is to picket all major hospitals in England on all three days of proposed action. Pickets will be in the vicinity of the main entrances and will start at 8am, continuing until at least 12.30pm. However, many picket sites will continue into the evening, especially at the larger hospitals.
Along with the pickets there will be parallel “Meet the Doctors” events at nearby transport stops or public spaces. We will direct you to these events from the picket.
Please turn up on the days of action, and give us your support. We will then inform you if other local events are planned on the day. If you are an allied health worker, trade unionist or campaigner please do consider bringing along the banner representing your organisation, your working uniform or similar. We would appreciate it however if banners in explicit endorsement of specific political parties are not displayed and that any selling of campaign literature such as newspapers is relatively discreet.
On the days of action, please do debate us, educate us and invite us to address your colleagues in your workplace or trade union branch.”
As the Junior Doctors are highlighting, this dispute is not just about their contracts, it’s about the future of our NHS. We all must help to win this campaign and to give maximum support to the Junior Doctors.
Secretary, Coventry TUC