Doctors in England to Hold 72-Hour Strike After Talks Break Down

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(Bloomberg) -- Junior doctors in England will stage another 72-hour walkout over pay, as they warn of a summer of industrial action after talks with the government broke down.

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The strike will take place between June 14-17, the British Medical Association said in a statement late Monday. The trade union, which represents doctors in the UK, said the Department for Health and Social Care had given an offer that wasn’t “credible or even reasonable.”

A government spokesperson described the announcement as “surprising and deeply disappointing” and said the strike will be “hugely disruptive for patients.” They said their offer — which the BMA says is a 5% raise — was “fair and reasonable” and that talks had been constructive.

The possibility of fresh industrial action threatens to undermine Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s promise to shorten waiting lists for the National Health Service. Britain’s economy lost another half a million working days to strikes in March amid the most severe round of industrial action in nearly four decades — the UK has now lost more than 3.5 million days to walkouts since the Office for National Statistics began collecting the data last June.

While the BMA said it was willing to continue talking and expects to meet Health Secretary Steve Barclay on Wednesday, the government said strikes must be paused in order to continue negotiations.

“If the Government doesn’t change their position, we will strike throughout the summer,” Vivek Trivedi and Robert Laurenson, co-chairs of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, said. “This means we will call a minimum of three days of action every month for the duration of our mandate for industrial action.”

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