The government announcement of Imposition of the ‘Dalton Contract’ is a clear escalation in its strategy to fundamentally reshape the NHS. It is clear that this contract is unacceptable to Junior Doctors and therefore we as the Junior Doctors’ Committee (JDC) must fight its imposition. But the JDC does not exist in isolation, as part of the wider BMA and on behalf of health workers generally we must make the fight against contract imposition the centre of our campaign.
The government has escalated this dispute to a point which is unacceptable, is forcing doctors to flee the country and will have a lasting impact on the structure and function of the NHS. We have therefore been left with no choice but to match their escalation with a show of force to mitigate as much as possible the long term impacts of this strategy from the Department of Health and Conservative Government.
This must mean coordinated and sustained industrial action. We have won the concessions that we have by showing that industrial action gets results. The ‘Dalton Contract’ is objectively better than the contract proposals that were threatened to be imposed last summer.
While we have achieved much in our campaign so far. These strikes must be seen not just as a form of protest, but as a refusal to work under unacceptable conditions. Now is the time to turn to our friends and colleagues in the NHS and ask for their practical support. Imposition is clearly a threat to all health workers as it shows the government are willing to do whatever it takes to harm workers terms and conditions, softening the NHS for privatisation.
Therefore I propose that JDC commits:
- To using all avenues possible to prevent imposition and continue to fight against a contract which is unsafe for patients and unfair to Junior Doctors.
- To undertake industrial action to include multiple consecutive days of the emergency care only model and to escalate to a full walkout during the hours considered plain time by the ‘Dalton Contract’ if required.
- To work closer with our trade union colleagues by:
- Approach the Trades Union Congress to ask them to sponsor a joint BMA-TUC-trade union demonstration in support of our dispute; in support of student health workers’ fight around NHS bursaries; and for an end to privatisation of the NHS and reinstatement of a comprehensive, fully public, well funded health service.
- Investigating how we can send delegations to trade union conferences to gather support for Junior Doctors.
- Discussing with General Practice, Consultant Colleagues and other health workers how we can coordinate our disputes with the government for maximum impact.