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BMA staff to be balloted next week on strike action to clash with pensions ‘day of action’

Exclusive: The GMB trade union is to ballot BMA staff on a possible strike from next Monday – and could time a walkout to coincide with the BMA’s own ‘day of action’ to protest the Government’s pensions reforms.

Around half the BMA’s 600-strong staff are members of the union, which is protesting against the offer of a 1.5% pay rise from management. The GMB had requested a 5% pay rise, and will now hold a ballot from 21 to 30 May.

The GMB hopes to know the result by the time of the BMA Council’s special meeting on the day, which will discuss the results of its own ballot of the medical profession, and decide whether to press ahead with industrial action. GMB representatives will inform BMA Council members of the results of the staff ballot.

Anna Meyer, regional organiser for the GMB, said: ‘Once we know the results of both ballots, then we may speak to co-ordinate strike action accordingly.’

The co-ordination of the strikes would not be intended to disrupt the logistics of a doctors’ strike, Meyer added.

‘It is more about shaming BMA management. We said from the start that the BMA were criticising the Government for failing to negotiate further on the pensions issue, yet here they are doing exactly the same thing in relation to their own staff,’ she said.

BMA chief executive Tony Bourne said:‘We believe the 2012/13 pay offer to BMA staff – a general uplift of 1.5% plus an 0.5% performance pot) is a fair one given the challenging economic environment facing all employers, particularly following the 5% award paid last year.

‘In all but one of the last seven years we have increased salaries above the going rate, and in some years, significantly above this. This year, we have also made very substantial, additional contributions to the staff pension scheme.’