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Trust leaders using ‘aggressive tactics’ to ‘break’ strikes, BMA claims

Published on: 4 Jul 2023

The BMA has hit out at a trust after it emerged that striking junior doctors could ‘needlessly’ have eight days’ wages deducted from July’s pay, despite there being five days of strike action this month.

In a thread posted to Twitter, British Medical Association Junior Doctors shared a letter sent by North Bristol Trust chief medical officer Tom Whittlestone which said that due to the trust’s payroll close date falling on 5 July, and with “the majority of” junior doctors set to rotate out of the trust on 1 August, deductions from both June and July’s strike dates would be taken from July’s pay.

The letter – which was also signed by deputy chief medical officer Sanjoy Shah and medical directors Sam Patel and Joydeep Grover – said that “not enough pay will have been earned in August to cover strike deductions for the five-day strike in July” and that striking junior doctors should make “any necessary financial arrangements”.

The BMA said via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that this was a “transparent and aggressive tactic” to try to “break willingness to strike” and accused North Bristol Trust of “punch[ing] down”.

Junior doctors in England are set to strike for five consecutive days from 13 July to 18 July in what will be the longest walkout in NHS history. It follows three days of strike action in June.

A spokesperson for North Bristol Trust said: “We respect and recognise the right of staff to take strike action. As junior doctors will be rotating at the start of August we proactively wrote to them to inform them that they will see salary deductions for any strike action they undertake in June or July in their July payslip, as we will need to ensure pay is correct before rotation.

“We value the wellbeing of all of our staff and the purpose of this letter was to let junior doctors know in advance so they can make any necessary financial arrangements, rather than find out when they receive their salary.”