Junior doctors' union announces new three-day strike in June

The union representing junior doctors has announced a fresh 72-hour walkout in response to what they call the government's "paltry" 5% pay offer.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said they will strike in England from 14-17 June in a bid to force ministers "to put forward a credible" salary rise.

They warned that if the government "doesn't change their position, we will strike throughout the summer".

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said it is "both surprising and deeply disappointing" that further action has been declared "while constructive talks were ongoing".

But the BMA said talks "have now reached a stage where they are currently unproductive".

Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, said: "Accordingly, we are in a position where we must call new industrial action.

"We are today announcing that junior doctors in England will hold another 72-hour full walkout between 0700 on Wednesday 14 June and 0700 on Saturday 17 June.

"And if the government doesn't change their position, we will strike throughout the summer. This means we will call a minimum of three days of action every month for the duration of our mandate for industrial action."

The BMA say they have had a 26% real-terms salary cut over the past 15 years and "deserve full pay restoration now".

They want a pay rise of 35% to "stop the haemorrhaging of junior doctors from the NHS", saying four in 10 are looking to leave the health service as it "staggers under a workforce crisis".

In their statement announcing the new strike dates, the BMA accused the government of failing to recognise "the scale of our pay erosion" and said "this was made clear when they finally made their pay offer of 5%".

They called this "simply not credible" as it would not match the scale of inflation this year, let alone pay erosion, and called on ministers to "get serious".

BMA demands 'unaffordable'

However, the government accused the BMA of being "unwilling" to budge on their "unaffordable headline demands".

A spokesperson said: "We made a fair and reasonable opening offer, and were in active discussions about both pay and non-pay issues.

"Unfortunately, it seems the BMA is unwilling to move meaningfully away from their unaffordable headline demands on pay.

"The government has been clear that strikes must be paused while talks take place, so while the BMA has chosen to end our current discussions, we remain ready to continue them at any point if strikes are called off."

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The BMA said it is still willing to meet Steve Barclay, the health secretary, on Wednesday for scheduled talks.

It is understood other measures being discussed include compensating junior doctors for out-of-pocket expenses such as the exam fees they face as part of their training.

The June walkouts come after a four-day strike by junior doctors in England in April which led to nearly 200,000 appointments and operations being cancelled.

Junior doctors also walked out for 72 hours from 13-15 March, when about 175,000 appointments and operations were postponed.