Intended for healthcare professionals


Junior doctors in England to strike again in June after negotiations fail

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: (Published 23 May 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p1189
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Junior doctors in England will go out on strike for 72 hours from 14 June, after three weeks of talks with the government failed.

The BMA has said the government tabled a final pay rise offer of 5%, which the union labelled “in no way credible.” It has said that if the government does not improve their offer, junior doctors will strike for a minimum of three days every month over the summer.

In England, junior doctors have so far carried out two separate walkouts, totalling seven days of strike action. They are calling for “pay restoration” to reverse an estimated 26% real terms cut in pay since 2008-9. The BMA said this would require a 35.3% pay rise.

The announcement comes after Scotland’s government offered junior doctors a 14.5% pay rise and committed to a new junior doctor pay bargaining review taskforce, which will develop a new review system to avoid future pay erosion. The offer will be put to BMA Scotland members in the next two weeks.1

In a statement BMA Junior Doctors Committee co-chairs Vivek Trivedi and Robert Laurenson said, “We entered these talks in good faith, hoping that after months of refusal by ministers to meet with us, we would finally see a real offer on the table that would avoid the need for more industrial action and stop the haemorrhaging of junior doctors from the NHS. In that time, we have received an offer which is in no way credible or even reasonable for where we are in the negotiating process.” The co-chairs added that the government had also refused to recognise the “scale of our pay erosion.”

“Despite this we are willing to continue talking and we expect to meet the health secretary on Wednesday as scheduled, where we hope he will bring a credible offer,” they said. “If the government doesn’t change its position, we will strike throughout the summer. This means we will call a minimum of three days of action every month for the duration of our mandate for industrial action.”

In response, a spokesperson for the government called the strike announcement “both surprising and deeply disappointing” while talks are ongoing. “We made a fair and reasonable opening offer, and were in active discussions about both pay and non-pay matters. Unfortunately, it seems the BMA is unwilling to move meaningfully away from its unaffordable headline demands on pay,” the spokesperson said. “The government has been clear that strikes must be paused while talks take place, so while the BMA has chosen to end our current discussions, we remain ready to continue them at any point if strikes are called off.”