Junior doctors have voted to reject a proposed junior doctors’ contract cobbled together by the British Medical Association and Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
BMA members in England voted by 58 percent to 42 percent to reject the proposed dangerous new contract on a 68 percent turnout. This is a clear mandate to reject the deal—and call more strikes that can scrap the toxic contract.
Aislinn Macklin-Doherty, a junior doctor in London, told Socialist Worker, “I’m delighted that junior doctors have not capitulated to the government. The offer still compromises our ability to care for our patients.
“This shows we will continue fighting for a publicly funded and well-resourced NHS.”
The ballot on the deal came after eight solid walkouts by junior doctors in England against Hunt’s imposition of the contract. Their strikes forced Hunt to the negotiating table—but the deal that came out of the negotiations falls far short of what junior doctors are fighting for.
The chair of the BMA’s junior doctors’ committee Johan Malawana resigned today following the vote. He had pushed for members to accept the deal while members came out against it.
Hunt claims the new contract is essential to bring in “seven day working” in the NHS to improve patient safety.
In reality the Tories want to smash unsocial hours pay and terms and conditions to soften upthe NHS for privatisation.
The Tories have said the deal will cut the cost of weekend working by a third. This deal will make Saturdays and Sundays ordinary working days and reduce extra night shift pay from 50 percent to 37 percent.
Junior doctors working less than one weekend in eight would only be paid normal pay rates and those working weekends more often will receive a rise of between 3 and 10 percent.
The BMA should immediately call a programme of industrial action before the contract is scheduled to into operation in August.
More hard-hitting action can force Hunt to dump the contract.
Aislinn said, “We’ll have to see what members want to do, but so far our experience has been that this stubborn government only listens to strikes."