Junior doctors to strike in protest at changes to their contracts

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Junior doctors will take strike action next week after talks failed to settle a dispute over changes to their contracts.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said junior doctors would take strike action for the first time in 40 years after the latest round of negotiations in a long-running dispute ended today.

On Tuesday, January 12, a 24-hour strike from 8am will involve all junior doctors except those on call to provide emergency cover.

Then a 48-hour strike, also not involving doctors on emergency cover, will run from 8am on Tuesday, January 26.

A third strike will see all junior doctors walk out between 8am and 5pm on Wednesday, February 10.

The BMA said on its website: “We re-entered talks with NHS Employers and the Department of Health in December around the junior doctors’ contract dispute. Those talks ended on Monday 4 January and, regrettably, without the significant progress we were seeking.

“As a result, junior doctors in England will be taking industrial action for the first time in 40 years.”

Junior doctors held a huge protest in Leeds in October against contract changes they said would lead to unsafe working hours and pay cuts.

The BMA secured a huge mandate in favour of action, with 98 per cent voting to strike in a ballot of 37,000 members.

Strike action was first called for December, but was suspended while talks were held with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The legal period for when strike action could be held without the BMA holding another ballot of its members was then extended to January 13.

After final talks ended today, the BMA was required to give seven days’ notice of strike action being held.