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Up to 100 GPs to strike over pension reforms

Up to 100 GPs could strike alongside thousands of NHS workers next week in protest at the Government’s pension reforms.

GPs opting to join the Medical Practitioners’ Union before the November 30 can take part in strike action over pensions, union leaders have revealed, with several GPs who are members of the Unite affiliated union already opting to run an ‘emergency only’ service on the pensions day of action. 

A number of GPs in London have notified the MPU, which is part of the Unite union, of their intention to strike on the November 30 and provide a limited service in their practices. GPs who join the MPU before the November 30 are covered to take part in industrial action, after 75% of Unite members, including 100 GPs who are members of the MPU, voted to join the ‘day of action’. The ballot had a turnout of 31%.

MPU officials expect the London GPs’ decision to strike to kickstart ‘a bandwagon effect’ of further industrial action among its 100 strong GP membership. Action is most expected in MPU ‘strongholds’ in Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield. However, the MPU warned that it is only legal for GPs to strike if they are members of a union who had a ‘yes’ ballot on the day of action. Members of the BMA, which has refused to ballot members on the day of action, are not eligible for industrial action.

Dr Ron Singer, chair of the MPU, said: ‘Practices in Tower Hamlets are taking action, and I know of other practices in West London too. They will be running very limited services, with no booked appointments – only emergency care. These GPs were balloted as part of Unite and the MPU.

‘We must stress that legally anybody taking action must be a member of a union that has been balloted and there has been a ‘yes’ vote. Anybody can join a union up until the day of action and they will be covered to take part.

‘The strongholds of the MPU are Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle. And it would not surprise me that now this has started we are going to get a bandwagon effect.’