Junior doctors in Northern Ireland are set to vote on a 24-hour walkout over pay. They will take part in strike action from 8am on March 6 to 8am on March 7 if a yes vote is secured. It comes after strikes over pay by nurses and other health workers earlier this year.
Northern Ireland junior doctor committee chairwoman Dr Fiona Griffin said they want an immediate above-inflation pay rise and a commitment to full pay restoration in Northern Ireland. “We have already announced our plans to hold a ballot of junior doctors in Northern Ireland opening on 8 January 2024,” she said. “At a meeting of the Northern Ireland junior doctor committee yesterday it was agreed that, if we secure a yes vote in the ballot, we will then stage an initial full walk out of junior doctors for 24 hours, starting at 8am on the 6 March 2024 and ending at 8am on 7 March 2024.” She said the committee does not currently see any alternative to industrial action. “We will be encouraging all members to vote yes in the ballot. We would not be holding a ballot for industrial action if we felt that there was any other course of action that would achieve our aims,” she said. “The survey we carried out of junior doctors over the summer made it clear how dire the situation is; 86% have already indicated they are willing to strike and shockingly, 75% said they were considering moving abroad to work because there was better pay on offer as well as better terms and conditions and a better work life balance. “Our health service cannot afford to lose all of these doctors, we need to address the issues around pay with an immediate above-inflation pay rise and a commitment to full pay restoration in Northern Ireland.” Dr Griffin added: “To be clear, we are willing to talk to government to avoid striking and we would welcome any approach from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland or the Permanent Secretary for Health to talk to us. “However, we should also say that if we do not see any progress towards achieving our aims we will escalate our action and there will be longer strikes.”
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