Junior doctors in NHS Wales announce new strike dates in ongoing dispute over pay

Junior doctors on the picket line at Cardiff's University Hospital were among those that took part in a three-day walkout over pay back in January. Credit: PA

Junior doctors in Wales have announced new strike dates as part of the ongoing dispute over pay.  

The first, a 72-hour full walkout, will take place from Wednesday 21 February until Saturday 24 February.

The second, a 96-hour full walkout, will happen between Monday 25th March to Friday 29 March.

The Welsh Government has called the latest announcement "disappointing."

The new round of strike action follows a 72-hour walkout by junior doctors in January.

Union members across Wales will take part in the upcoming walkouts over pay. Credit: PA

BMA Cymru Wales’ junior doctors committee says it has announced the new dates after the Welsh Government "failed to produce a credible offer to end the dispute."

With healthcare a devolved issue, it is up to the Welsh Government how it prioritises funding.Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr Peter Fahey, co-chairs of BMA Cymru Wales’ junior doctors committee, said: “After our last round of action, we wrote to the minister for health and social services, and we remain ready to enter discussions if a credible offer is presented by the Welsh Government.

“No doctor wants to strike, but whilst those in power fail to grasp the seriousness of the situation and the strength of feeling amongst our members we feel we have been left with no choice."

The statement continues: “We aren’t asking for a pay rise - we are asking for our pay to be restored in line with inflation back to 2008 levels, when we began to receive pay cuts in real terms. Pay needs to be fair and competitive with other healthcare systems across the world to retain and recruit doctors and NHS staff to provide much-needed care. "Strike action began in January after 98% of junior doctors in Wales who took part in the ballot for industrial action voted  to strike "in pursuit of pay restoration."

The campaign claims junior doctors' pay has been eroded by almost a third (29.6%) since 2008/9. A Welsh Government spokesperson said: It is disappointing that doctors have decide to take industrial action again, but we understand their strength of feeling about the 5% pay offer.

“While we wish to address their pay restoration ambitions, our offer is at the limits of the finances available to us and reflects the position reached with the other health unions for this year. 

The statement continues: "Without additional funding from the UK Government, we are not in a position to currently offer any more. We will continue to press them to pass on the funding necessary for full and fair pay rises for public sector workers.

“We remain committed to working in social partnership with the British Medical Association and are available for further talks at any stage. We will work with them and NHS Wales to ensure patient safety is protected during industrial action.”

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