UK Junior Doctors Start Four-Day Strike Over 35% Pay Rise

April 11, 2023

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of British junior doctors started a four-day strike to demand a 35 percent pay raise over high inflation rates, which stood at 10.4 percent in February.


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“Qualified medics earn just US$17 an hour, and the U.K. minimum wage is just over US$12 an hour,” the British Medical Association (BMA) trade union explained, stressing that the real salary of its members has lost 26 percent of its value during the last 15 years.

Junior doctors represent almost half of the National Health Service (NHS) physicians. Health service bosses canceled about 350,000 scheduled operations and appointments because of the walkout.

As long as this initiative takes place, senior doctors will have to care for emergency units, critical care, and maternity services. The NHS faces one of the most severe crises in its 75-year history. Currently, about seven million patients wait for medical treatment.

Dr. Vivek Trivedi, co-chairperson of the BMA junior doctors committee, said the walkout could be stopped if Health Secretary Steve Barclay made a credible offer on pay. Other U.K. wages in the public sector have recently fallen in real terms.

British nurses, ambulance crews, teachers, border staff, driving examiners, bus drivers, and postal workers have all walked off their jobs for the last four months to demand higher pay as the rise in food and energy prices has left many of them struggling to pay their bills.

 “The walkout is likely to be the most disruptive period of strike action that we have seen this winter, and probably, in all the NHS history,” said Stephen Powis, the medical director of NHS England.

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