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GPs face new restrictions on strike action

GPs face new restrictions on strike action as a result of Government proposed reforms to trade union law.

Doctors and others have until September to voice their views on the Trade Union Bill, which would impose a 40% turnout threshold for strike ballots to be valid for ‘important public services’.

The Bill would also force unions to give more notice ahead of strike to allow employers to put in place ‘contingency plans’, allow employers to hire agency staff to cover for striking staff and enforce measures to tackle ‘intimidation’ of non-strikers.

The Government said it is introducing ‘fundamental reforms to modernise trade union law’, adding: ‘Reforms introduced by the Trade Union Bill will ensure that strike action only ever takes place on the basis of clear and representative mandates, through new thresholds that strike ballots must meet; improve transparency and oversight of trade unions require reasonable notice of strike action, and give employers greater chance to prepare for industrial action and put in place contingency plans.’

The three-part consultation, which is open to all, runs until 9 September.

The most recent strike action involving GPs, the BMA’s day of action against pensions reforms in 2012, saw a 50% turnout in the ballot.

Readers' comments (17)

  • Don't care about this anymore. BMA/RCGP not helping us. We can only rely on ourselves. Nothing is going to stop mine and many other GPs exit strategies.

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  • Have gone on permanent, unilateral strike. No ballot required.

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  • We'll never strike anyway, so you could make it 100% for me. If despite all the provocation we have had of late our leaders are still at the "we welcome the report" stage then there is no hope. We need a Crow or a Scargill with some fire in their belly. We have a Miliband with an A level in hand wringing.

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  • Striking is an attempt to improve conditions in the same job. Leaving NHS is what is really needed.

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  • I've tried fighting and gave up earlier this year. No more NHS for me. I won't work for the system anymore. Overseas work, and thenhome when I choose to. But it is not for the NHS. It's barbaric.

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  • They can't stop mass resignation and mass retirement!!

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  • GPs are emasculated by their supposed leaders.But they cant stop the actions of individuals.Retire,Emigrate,Locum or Private work,Change your path.Shout from the tallest building what a crap job we are in discourage people from joining us is the omnishambles. A strike would be fairer but what we have is death of the NHS by a thousand cuts as its lifeblood slowly ebbs away.A sad sad situation.But no one will say sorry and make it better.

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  • If GPs went on strike, even for a day, it would have massive coverage in the media, and have a massive impact on the public's psyche. What has happened already is far, far worse. GPs have retired early, not for a day, but for ever. GPs have gone to Australia/NZ not for a week but for ever. New GPs are turning their backs never to return, and training places are unfilled. This will have a detrimental effect on the delivery of healthcare in the UK for decades.
    A strike will make headlines, but the practical consequences will be insignificant. It may be politically significant though, but it is our response through the media, which will determine it's significance. We will need Copperfield rather than Baker.

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  • I completely agree with 9.39
    All we can do is look after ourselves, but what a shame for the NHS.

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  • The BMA will never strike. Why? The BMA is not representative of our opinion. Why?
    The BMA is a special register body. This is a sub grade of trade union that doesn't have to go through the inconvenience of asking the members to vote for our leaders.
    Any time a BMA representative discusses this they trot out something like (and i'm paraphrasing) "we are democratic enough".
    It would be lovely if someone from the BMA would comment on this to defend it.
    When they do comment please ask yourself why would they not want us to have the ability to nominate and vote for our leaders?
    Are we unable to take in the information to make a reasoned and balanced choice of leader?
    So please don't worry yourself with the thresholds for striking. Instead worry about why your trade union doesn't trust you enough to ask for your vote to elect our leaders.

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