The chairman of the British Medical Association’s junior doctors committee Johann Malawana has branded Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s last minute pay offer to Junior doctors “megaphone diplomacy.”
Malawana was referring to an article in the Daily Mail that reported Hunt has written to every trainee doctor in the country offering them an 11% pay rise just one day before junior doctors are due to vote on strike action.
Jeremy Hunt wants junior doctors to work more at the weekend so he can fulfil the Conservative manifesto promise to provide a “truly seven-day NHS.
But the BMA is refusing to negotiate with him unless he promises not to impose changes on them without an agreement.
The two parties are at a stalemate, so Hunt is hoping that by dropping what looks like a generous offer just ahead of the stike ballot he can gain the upper hand in negotiations. Even if the offer is not enough to tempt junior doctors, Hunt hopes it will help him win over public opinion during the potential strike.
That’s why Johann Malawana from the BMA is so angry, he has been trying to play hardball with Jeremy Hunt’s Department of Health and is worried that Hunt’s surprise annulment in the Daily Mail will overshadow the strike ballot. Speaking on Radio 4 this morning Malawana complained that by leaking stories to media before the BMA has a chance to look at them, Hunt is unfairly avoiding a proper negotiation with them.
“The government is is trying to impose a contract that we’ve only seen via newspapers and the media this morning. This is effectively megaphone diplomacy.”
Support among doctors for the trike is said to be overwhelming.
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