BMA steps up plans for pension strikes

The BMA will ballot members on industrial action if they do not accept the government's final offer on NHS pension reforms.

Dr Andrew Dearden: government 'unwilling to negotiate'

The BMA Council has decided that when the government's final offer is announced later this year members will be asked to vote on whether or not to accept it.

If they vote against the offer, the BMA will ballot on industrial action. BMA pensions committee chairman Dr Andrew Dearden said the BMA Council had reached the decision because it felt the government was unwilling to negotiate over pensions. 'The government has not in any substantial way negotiated with the unions,' he said.

The BMA said it would begin an intensive 'workplace outreach programme' to raise awareness of the proposals and ensure that members' personal details are up to date in preparation for a ballot.

Recent BMA figures show that despite a Treasury offer of 'transitional protection' for staff 10 years from retirement and a better accrual rate, GPs would still lose out.

The BMA has calculated that a GP aged 55, although partly protected by the transitional deal, would have to pay £67,000 more over the remainder of their working life.

Over 20 years of retirement, they would also be worse off by around £292,000 if pension payments are uprated in line with the lower consumer price index measure of inflation rather than the retail price index, the BMA said.

Hampshire GP Dr Julian Bashforth said he was disappointed the BMA had not decided to ballot members now, but understood the decision not to do so. Delaying the ballot had bought the BMA more time to negotiate, he said. But he added: 'I would have liked it to pose the question now.'

GP members of the Medical Practitioners Union, balloted as part of the Unite union, will take part in strike action on 30 November.

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