BMA mulls pensions strikes after ballot backs action

BMA council will consider strike action on pensions in Scotland after a ballot found support for the move among some groups of doctors.

BMA: Scottish hospital doctors backed fresh industrial action
BMA: Scottish hospital doctors backed fresh industrial action

A majority of Scottish consultants, junior doctors and staff grade, associate specialist and specialty (SAS) doctors who took part in a BMA Scotland ballot backed industrial action short of a strike over pension reforms. Junior and SAS doctors backed strike action with emergency cover. Public health doctors voted against any form of action.

BMA Scotland has made clear that it will not consider industrial action short of a strike. The UK BMA council will now consider whether to sanction 'strike action with emergency cover', which was the proposal on which the ballot was based. Although doctors were asked about industrial action short of a strike, this question was only included for legal reasons.

If hospital doctors proceed with strike action in Scotland, the first day of action would take place on 12 December 2012 with further days planned for 8 and 17 January 2013.

All hospital doctors in Scotland were asked two questions: whether they would be prepared to take industrial action short of a strike and whether they would be prepared to take strike action over proposed reforms to the NHS pensions scheme.

Turnout rates ranged between 45% for public health doctors and 29% for junior doctors.

Junior doctors and SAS doctors were the only groups that said they would be prepared to take strike action.

Out of 1,493 consultants balloted, 1,004 voted in favour of industrial action, and 486 voted against. A total of 734 voted in favour of strike action while 756 voted agaisnt it.

Of the 292 SAS doctors that voted, 196 voted in favour of industrial action and 96 voted against. 153 SAS doctors voted in favour of strike action, compared to 139 who voted against.

A total of 651 junior doctors took part in the ballot, and 580 voted in favour of industrial action while 71 voted against.

Junior doctors were the group most strongly in favour of strike action, with 474 supporting such action and 176 voting against.

Public health doctors did not support any form of action.

The UK BMA Council will meet today to review the ballot results and decide what steps to take.

BMA Scotland has previously had talks with the Scottish government on the possibility of reaching a separate pensions deal.

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