Junior doctors in England to strike days before election

May 30, 2024
Junior doctors hold placards as they stand on a picket line outside the Royal University Hospital during a national strike over pay and conditions, in Liverpool, Britain, January 3, 2024. — Reuters

LONDON: Junior doctors in England will strike just days before the general election, their union announced on Wednesday, as a protracted pay battle with the Conservative government threatens to intrude on the culmination of the campaign.


Junior doctors -- those below specialist, consultant level -- will walk out from early on June 27 until early on July 2 over their long-running dispute over pay, the British Medical Association (BMA) said.

Voters will head to the polls across the UK on July 4, with the Labour opposition widely expected to oust the ruling Tories.

The strike follows nearly a dozen similar actions by junior doctors over the last 18 months, which included the longest walkout -- totalling six days -- in the seven-decade history of Britain´s National Health Service (NHS).

The country has been hit by various walkouts across numerous sectors in recent years, as decades-high inflation in 2023 and a cost-of-living crisis led staff to demand pay rises to keep up with spiralling prices.

The government, quasi-public agencies and private sector firms have resolved many of the pay disputes, but some remain outstanding, such as with the junior doctors.

They have been asking for 35 percent “pay restoration” as a starting position, with the BMA insisting it is willing to negotiate.