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Doctors To Vote On Industrial Action

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Doctors To Vote On Industrial Action-> The possibility of the first action from doctors since 1975 looms as concerns grow over pension reforms. Doctors vote on industrial action, Doctors will start voting on Monday on whether to take their first industrial action since the 1970s, in a dramatic escalation of the bitter dispute over the Government’s controversial pension reforms.

Ballot papers will be sent to 103,000 members of the British Medical Association (BMA), with the result due at the end of the month. The BMA has ruled out a complete withdrawal of labour, but if they vote in favour, doctors would not undertake duties that could safely be postponed.

The last time doctors took industrial action was in 1975, when consultants suspended goodwill activities and worked to contract over a contractual dispute, and junior doctors worked to a 40-hour week because of dissatisfaction with the progress of contract negotiations.

The BMA argues that higher paid NHS staff already pay proportionately more for their pensions than most other public sector workers, a disparity which it said increased in April when their contributions rose, and which is set to increase again.

By 2014, some doctors will see deductions of 14.5% from their pay for their pensions, compared to 7.35% for senior civil servants on similar salaries, to receive similar pensions, said the BMA.

Doctors currently at the start of their careers would be hardest hit, having to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds extra – double what they would have paid – in lifetime pensions contributions, according to the association.

“The BMA is taking this step reluctantly. It has always said it would prefer to find a way forward through negotiation, and that industrial action is very much a last resort,” said a statement.

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