NHS strikes roundup


The British Medical Association (BMA), representing junior doctors, walked out of talks with the Tory health minister, calling the talks “disappointing” and a “facade”. It says the minister, Steve Barclay, had not been given a mandate to negotiate on pay. As things stand, the junior doctors’ strike goes ahead 13-15 March.

Now, consultants have voted in an indicative ballot, 86% for action on a 61% turnout, with the threat of a strike ballot next month.

Ambulance workers

Ambulance strikes by GMB, Unison and Unite members have been suspended for talks with the government.

While understanding that striking health workers want a resolution to the dispute, Socialist Party members on the Unison health service group executive (SGE) argued against suspension. They report: “We were presented with a letter from the government that outlined the pre-conditions to talks. We argued we could not accept non-consolidated pay for 2022-23, as that was not a meaningful pay rise. Others on the committee agreed. It was only the Socialist Party members who voted against suspending the action to go into talks, but it was made clear that any deal including non-consolidation will come back to the SGE and we will have the chance to vote against. Members will be angry and calling for action – and for reballots in areas that missed the turnout threshold first time around – if there is an offer that is well below inflation.” The action planned for 20 March is currently going ahead, depending on the outcome of talks.

In Unite, the decision was in the hands of reps with a mandate for action, who initially decided to continue with their strikes. Reps did not agree with a non-consolidated award for 2022-23, or that a pay award should be linked to productivity. The government then stated that any pay offer would come with new money, and that ‘productivity’ and ‘efficiency’ changes would not lead to attacks on members’ conditions. It is understandable that, once it was clear the other unions were going into talks, Unite reps, with fewer numbers on the ground, decided it would be better not to be excluded from the talks.


Royal College of Nursing (RCN) action has ‘paused’ for talks. A nurse spoke out in last week’s Socialist against that – see ‘Nurses say: Fight till we win’ at www.socialistparty.org.uk

Wales midwives

In a consultation, members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Wales rejected the latest offer from the Labour-led Welsh government, by an overwhelming margin of 82%. However, the RCM leadership announced on 28 February that they would “move to accept” the offer, despite the views of its members. This was on the basis that “the Welsh government have made it clear there is no more money on the table to improve the pay offer, hidebound as they are by the money they get from the Westminster government”.

Another example of how the so-called ‘social partnership’ between the Labour-led Welsh government and trade union leaders, instead of joining together to fight the Tories, is actually used to hold back workers’ fighting for what they need and deserve.

Nurses in the RCN in Wales also rejected the offer. On 3 March the RCN announced that the Welsh government had come back for further talks. Ambulance strikes in Wales have also been suspended for talks.