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BMA staff stage 24-hour strike over pay

Staff employed by the BMA walked out of work for 24 hours and picketed BMA offices across the country today, as part of a strike over an ongoing pay dispute.

The strike – organised by members of the GMB union, which represents 350 staff employed by the BMA – marks the second day of industrial action by BMA staff over the dispute, following the strike on 20 June.

It was timed to coincide with the BMA's crunch council meeting in Edinburgh, as BMA officials debated whether to take further industrial action as part of a separate dispute over the Government's pension reforms.

The staff action was organised after BMA management's latest offer of a 2.5% pay rise from April 2013 was rejected by the GMB, as they said it would not meet inflation.

The proposal, made via an email sent on Thursday night to GMB officials, also said that an offer of a 2% pay rise this year – previously rejected by the GMB – was non-negotiable.

The GMB said this offer, which consisted of a 1.5% rise and a 0.5% payment for exceptional performance, was also well below inflation.

The GMB said only a small percentage of staff would receive the payment for exceptional performance, and because of the pay grade system two-thirds of staff would receive a pay increase of less than 1.29%, with some receiving as little as a 0.3% rise.

Anna Meyer, GMB regional officer said: ‘Broken down, the BMA's offer of 2% was disingenuous and represents a real cut in living standards for staff. We know that the BMA have recently rented out part of BMA House to a private client for the Olympics for a substantial amount of money. This could fund staff pay increases.

‘Our members are angry that while they are working harder than ever defending doctors' terms and conditions, BMA management don't seem to care whether their own staff are being paid properly.'

She added: ‘It's so hypocritical. The BMA keep criticising the Government for their refusal to negotiate over unfair pension reforms, but they won't negotiate fair pay for their own staff.'

A spokesperson for the BMA said: ‘Today's strike action is an internal staffing matter between BMA management and the GMB – it is not connected to the BMA's current pensions dispute with the Government.'

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