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Scottish BMA decides against pensions strike action

The BMA has decided against taking industrial action over the Government’s pensions reforms after Scottish consultants narrowly voted against strike action.

The overall vote was in favour of a strike, with staff grade doctors voting for strike action by 153 to 139 and junior doctors voted heavily in favour by 474 to 176, but the union decided it did not have a ‘clear overall mandate’ to take strike action.

But consultants voted against the BMA’s proposed action of providing only emergency care and non-emergency doctors not attending their workplace by 756 to 734 votes. But they did vote in favour of industrial action short of a strike by 1,004 to 486.

As was the case earlier on in the year when the BMA balloted all UK doctors, including GPs, the union asked whether hospital doctors would be prepared to strike and whether they would be prepared to take industrial action short of a strike, because of union law.

Dr Brian Keighley, Chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said: ‘It is clear from the ballot result that although we don’t have a clear overall mandate for strike action, doctors are angry about the way the Scottish Government has handled plans to change NHS pensions.

‘Doctors do not understand why, when the Scottish Government is so opposed to the pension reforms being led by the UK Government, they are implementing aspects of them in Scotland where they have the devolved authority to do something different, primarily on employee contributions.

‘The Scottish Government must recognise that through the failure to act on their words of opposition, ministers have damaged trust amongst NHS staff.

‘Although we are not taking industrial action, we will continue to lobby and campaign against the unfairness of these pension changes and we will work with the other NHS unions to press for meaningful negotiations in Scotland.’