BMA Scotland rules out strike action over pensions

BMA Scotland has ruled out strike action over pension reforms despite a ballot of hospital doctors that found widespread support for the move.

Dr Brian Keighley: doctors are angry over pensions
Dr Brian Keighley: doctors are angry over pensions

The UK BMA council decided on Wednesday not to proceed with strike action after a ballot of hospital doctors in Scotland.

Although 73% of junior doctors and 52% of staff and associate specialists who voted in the ballot said that they were willing to take strike action, the overall level of support in the ballot was insufficient to mount effective action, the BMA said.

BMA council agreed that while the ballot result did not give a sufficiently strong mandate for the proposed industrial action, it was clear that doctors remain angry and that the BMA had a continuing responsibility to continue to fight for fairer NHS pensions. 

The BMA also warned that trust in the Scottish government had been seriously undermined as a result of the changes to the NHS pension scheme in Scotland.

BMA Scotland chairman Dr Brian Keighley said: ‘It is clear from the ballot result that although we don’t have a clear overall mandate for strike action, doctors are angry about the way the Scottish government has handled plans to change NHS pensions.

‘Doctors do not understand why, when the Scottish government is so opposed to the pension reforms being led by the UK government, they are implementing aspects of them in Scotland where they have the devolved authority to do something different, primarily on employee contributions.

‘Although we are not taking industrial action, we will continue to lobby and campaign against the unfairness of these pension changes and we will work with the other NHS unions to press for meaningful negotiations in Scotland.’

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