Socialist Worker

Doctors' ballot: 'It's important to stand up and be counted'

by Julie Sherry
Issue No. 2305

Health workers in London march for the NHS in March (Pic: Smallman )

Health workers in London march for the NHS in March (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Doctors in the British Medical Association (BMA) have called industrial action on 21 June against the Tories’ pensions attack.

The announcement followed an overwhelming ballot result for action, with 63 percent voting to strike and 78 percent for action short of a strike.

The ballot of over 100,000 doctors saw a 50 percent turnout. The vote for action among junior doctors was particularly high, with 92 percent voting for industrial action and 82 percent voting for strikes.

The action will see doctors providing only urgent and emergency care, while postponing non-urgent cases. It will be the first time the BMA has taken action in almost 40 years.

Aymen, a doctor in A&E at a hospital is Romford, spoke to Socialist Worker following the BMA’s overwhelming vote for action.

“The attack on pensions is disgusting, I’ll be joining the action on 21 June,” he said. “We work really hard to provide a public service and we shouldn’t have our conditions taken away from us.

“It’s a slippery slope—once you let them attack your pensions they won’t stop there. That’s why it’s important to stand up and be counted now “

The action can have a huge political impact, especially if doctors join marches in towns and cities across the country on the day.

The doctors’ action gives a focus for other unions too as they meet to discuss taking action.

The UCU lecturers’ union conference takes place from 8 June and the EIS Scottish teachers’ union meets on 7 June.

The GMB, which recently voted 96 percent in its health sector to reject the pensions offer, meets for its national congress on 10 June.

These conferences come at a crucial moment, as many workers across the unions want to be part of a June strike to keep up the pressure.

A hot autumn is already on the cards. The TUC demonstration set to take place on 20 October could mobilise over half a million, and a national student march is also planned.

And if unions get behind the potential joint union teachers’ strike in October, for which they will soon start balloting, there’s the possibility of another strike of hundreds of thousands.

Mass coordinated action in June can help to strengthen and build momentum back into the pensions fight.

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